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Binh Thuan struggles with untreated coal ash
The Saigon Times Daily
Sunday,  Nov 18, 2018,10:34 (GMT+7)

Binh Thuan struggles with untreated coal ash

The Saigon Times Daily

A view of Vinh Tan 2 Thermal Plant – PHOTO: VIETNAM ENERGY

HCMC – Some four million tons of untreated coal ash, discharged from thermal power plants in the south-central coastal province of Binh Thuan, is causing significant problems for the Ministry of Industry and Trade, according to a report sent to the prime minister.

The ministry said once thermal power plants at Vinh Tan Power Center are put into operation, the annual amount of coal ash being produced is expected to reach 3.8 million tons.

Three plants – Vinh Tan 2, Vinh Tan 4 and an expanded Vinh Tan 4 – dump waste into a common ash and slag dump spanning over 38 hectares and able to accommodate some 9.3 million cubic meters.

Currently, the area is filled with about 4.5 million cubic meters of waste, so it is expected to have no room available within two years.

The dump, which is located near a national road, is impacted by strong sea winds as coal ash and slag are transported by truck. This increases the risks of dust being released, as well as causing excessive noise during the transportation and dumping of waste coal ash, according to the ministry.

The ministry said most coal ash and slag are released from thermal power plants – Vinh Tan 1 and Vinh Tan 2 – which use a hard coal, called anthracite, and includes 30%-37% of total charcoal.

The prime minister has allowed Vinh Tan 1 to store its ash and slag over a long period. Meanwhile, Vinh Tan 2 is under mounting pressure to treat its waste, since it cannot be used to make concrete additives due to its low quality.

Earlier, Vinh Tan 2 signed a contract with Mai Xanh Investment Company to produce unbaked bricks from ash and slag. Mai Xanh has installed only three out of 28 brick production lines, which could use some 450 tons of waste per day. However, the plant emits up to 4,500 tons of ash per day.

The ministry noted that it is difficult to fulfill the commitment to reduce ash and slag waste, due to the company’s difficulties in finance, technology, and the lack of competitive prices of unbaked bricks.

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