Nov 22, 2012

Vietnam - Mineral extraction put under State Audit’s radar

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Vietnam is naturally blessed with bountiful mineral resources. But loose controls, inspections and audits of mining activities are being blamed for depleting resources and seriously damaging the environment.

According to Le The Chien, deputy head of State Audit’s sectoral economy inspection, violations occur in almost every aspect in mining activities, from licensing to project implementation.

Insufficient licensing has been detected in many provinces that have projects on steel ores, manganese and titanium extraction. The steel sector alone was found as having 32 investment projects not reflected in official planning documents.

Latest figures by Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s General Department of Geology and Minerals of Vietnam (DGMV) show that up to 90 per cent of businesses operating in mining field have impinged on the environmental protection regulations.
Most localities, organisations, individuals and businesses in this field were detected by the DGMV to incur violations.

These findings are attributed to inadequate attention being paid to auditing activities involving management, extraction, usage and mineral resources business in the past years.

In recent years, auditing activities have mainly focused on management and usage of land resources, particularly the execution of the land laws and financial obligations as a source of contributions to state budget such as land rental and land taxes, according to Phan Truong Giang, head of State Audit’s General Department.

Giang also said auditing in mining field mainly involved with auditing of financial statements and the balance sheets of businesses and relevant ministries, state agencies and localities deploying extraction, management and mineral usage, and insufficient attention was paid to specialised audits.

According to State Audit’s chief auditor Dinh Tien Dung, this agency was scaling up specialised auditing from early 2012 with a total 16 specialised audits proposed this year, 11 audits more than in 2011 focusing on appraising the efficiency in land usage and management as well as natural resources and mineral extraction and business.

“In 2013, parallel to auditing the mining field’s licensing process when handling specialised audits,” Dung said, “the State Audit intends to link audits on management and usage of land, property, housing and urban development, mining business to audits of the state budget, investment and target programmes, state-owned enterprises, financial and banking entities and consider them our focal task.”

A DGMV source said priority will be given to mining hot spots, improper transfer of the right for mining activities and strengthening cooperation with inspection, tax and environmental police bodies to hike audit efficiency.

Han Tin |

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