Asia Cement Corp (亞泥) yesterday denied that it has been expanding mining operations in Hualien County.
“We have been conducting a large-scale afforestation project in the region for several years and the efforts have begun to bear fruit,” the company, one of the biggest cement makers in the nation, said in a statement.
The comments came after the death on Saturday of documentary filmmaker Chi Po-lin (齊柏林) in a helicopter crash, which raised public questions about the scope of the firm’s mining operations in Hualien because of his footage.
Asia Cement has been mining in eastern Taiwan for 60 years. Its mine once extended 25 hectares into Taroko National Park, but it said it reduced its mining area in the park at the end of last year.
Asia Cement is a unit of Far Eastern Group (遠東集團), which also operates Far Eastern Department Stores Co (遠東百貨) and textile maker Far Eastern New Century Corp (遠東新世紀).
The Ministry of Economic Affairs in March approved an extension of Asia Cement’s mining rights in Sincheng Township (新城) by 20 years, allowing it to bypass an environmental impact assessment.
“The ministry has completed the draft amendment to the Mining Act (礦業法) and would require outdated projects to pass environmental impact assessments in the future,” Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said yesterday.
The ministry is to discuss related details with the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), Shen said, without providing a timetable.
The Department of Mines said in a statement that the nation’s cement supply chains might be affected if Asia Cement halts production at its Hualien plant.
The Hualien plant contributes nearly 29 percent of Taiwan’s total cement production, it said.
In late March, Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan, initiated a petition to abolish the extension of mining rights, which collected about 42,000 signatures until the first week of this month.
After Chi’s lastest aerial photograph of the company’s activity was revealed on Saturday, about 40,000 signatures were added to the petition over the weekend, bringing the total number of signatures to 87,867 as of 8:30pm last night, foundation researcher Pan Cheng-cheng (潘正正) said.
Once the petition has 100,000 signatures, the foundation will deliver it to authorities and press them to re-examine the company’s mining permit, Pan said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) said on Facebook yesterday that the EPA should ask the company to conduct a new environmental impact analysis and submit response strategies, based on Article 28 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (環境影響評估法).
Pan said a new analysis might change the firm’s mining scope, but added that “it would be a difficult decision for the EPA.”
The EPA had not responded to Lin’s call as of press time last night.
Additional reporting by Ines Lin
COMMITMENT: The world’s biggest contract chipmaker said that its new 2nm chips, as well as next-generation, cutting-edge 1.4nm chips, will be produced in Taiwan Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday said that the majority of its most advanced chips would continue to be manufactured in Taiwan and that it is boosting advanced chip packaging capacity to catch up with fast-growing demand driven by generative artificial intelligence (AI) applications like ChatGPT. Deeply rooted in Taiwan, TSMC is expanding production capacity for its most advanced 3-nanometer (nm) chips at its Tainan fab and is building new plants to produce new 2-nanometer chips in Hsinchu and Taichung in 2025. The chipmaker also plans to produce next-generation, cutting-edge 1.4-nanometer chips, which are currently under development, at home, it
FIRST STEP: Business groups in Taiwan welcomed the deal, which does not include tariff reductions at this stage, as they called for the elimination of double taxation Taiwan and the US yesterday signed an initial agreement under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade. The agreement was signed yesterday morning by Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Managing Director Ingrid Larson in Washington, the Office of Trade Negotiations in Taipei said. The ceremony was witnessed by Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) and Deputy US Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi. Taiwan and the US started talks under the initiative in August last year, after Taipei was left out of the Washington-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. “The deal that will be signed tonight is not only very historic,
PASSAGE DISPUTE: A US and Canadian transit was a provocation and an attempt to ‘exercise hegemony of navigation,’ China’s defense ministry told a forum in Singapore The Ministry of National Defense yesterday urged the Chinese Communist Party to avoid provocative behavior after a Chinese navy ship crossed the paths of a US destroyer and Canadian frigate transiting the Taiwan Strait. A Chinese ship on Saturday “executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner in the vicinity of [the USS] Chung-Hoon,” an American destroyer, the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement. The vessel “overtook Chung-Hoon on their port side and crossed their bow at 150 yards [137m]. Chung-Hoon maintained course and slowed to 10 [knots, 18.5kph] to avoid a collision,” the statement said. It then “crossed Chung-Hoon’s bow a second time
HARD-WON FREEDOM: Beijing’s 1989 crackdown on protesters has not been and should not be forgotten, as China tightens its grip on Hong Kong, Lai said Taiwanese enjoy democracy and freedom and have multiple ways to express their creativity, and hopefully young people in China would also one day have the freedom to sing and express themselves, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, commemorating the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s bloody crackdown on student-led protests in Beijing in 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident. Tsai posted a photograph taken in March in a subway station in Guizhou, China, where hundreds of young people gathered to sing People With No Ideals Don’t Get Hurt (沒有理想的人不傷心), saying that they