Government plans to cut annual cement production to 15 percent of the current rate by 2025 are to be accelerated by reducing cement exports in an effort to reduce mining of natural resources and protect the environment, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
“We previously aimed to reduce the figure to 20 percent by 2025, but now we want to put in more effort and be more aggressive in national land conservation,” Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) told a news conference.
Taiwan produced 12.13 million tonnes of cement last year, of which exports accounted for 26.63 percent, or 3.23 million tonnes, ministry data showed.
The economy would be affected if the nation does not have a cement industry, because it is fundamental to infrastructure development, Yang said.
However, mining natural resources for export can be adjusted as a way to protect the environment, he said.
“The government is trying to find a balance between mining and environmental protection,” Yang said.
The government’s latest effort to decrease mining comes in the wake of the death of acclaimed documentary filmmaker Chi Po-lin (齊柏林), whose aerial footage seemed to show that Asia Cement Corp’s (亞泥) mining activity in eastern Taiwan is more expansive than five years ago.
Chi’s findings sparked a public outcry in the past two weeks with environmental groups demanding that the government withdraw its approval of Asia Cement’s 20-year mining rights extension in eastern Taiwan.
Yang said the ministry reviewed the extension approval process in the past week at the Executive Yuan’s request, and it is certain that the decision was made in accordance with the Mining Act (礦業法).
The Cabinet on Thursday last week decided that an amendment to the Mining Act would require cement makers, including those that have been granted extension approvals, to carry out environmental impact assessments.
Yang said that Asia Cement has agreed to cooperate with the government.
An amendment to the act would also require miners of areas larger than 1 hectare to conduct environmental evaluations, Yang said, adding that more than 120 mining areas would have to abide by the regulations if they come into effect.
Malaysian authorities have advised women to wear makeup, not to nag their husbands and speak with a cartoon character’s soothing voice during the virus lockdown, sparking a flood of mockery online. Like many countries, Malaysia has ordered all citizens to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19, which, as of yesterday, had killed at least 39,070 people globally. In a series of online posters with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, the Malaysian Ministry of Women and Family Development issued advice on how to avoid domestic conflicts during the partial lockdown, which began on March 18. One of the campaign posters depicted
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
Japan’s ruling party yesterday proposed the nation’s biggest-ever stimulus package of ￥60 trillion (US$554 billion) as the COVID-19 pandemic locks the economy in a recession. The sum includes ￥20 trillion in fiscal measures with private initiatives and other elements likely making up the rest, the proposal by the Liberal Democratic Party showed. More than ￥10 trillion, or the equivalent of a 5 percentage point cut in the sales tax rate, would be handed out to the public in a combination of cash, subsidies and coupons, the plan showed. The proposal puts an initial figure on a stimulus package that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo