Metals News
The Environmental problems of Gan County Hongjin rare Earth Co., Ltd., China Minmetals Group Co., Ltd., have been delayed for a long time, perfunctory rectification and reform.
Aug 15,2019
Source:Ministry of Environmental Protection website
The content below was translated by Tencent automatically for reference.

Jiangxi Gan Hongjin rare Earth Co., Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Minmetals rare Earth Group Co., Ltd., a secondary enterprise of China Minmetals Group Co., Ltd., mainly engaged in rare earth smelting and separation production. On July 17, 2019, the Seventh Central Ecological Environmental Protection Supervision team found that the company's environmental pollution problems had been delayed for a long time, perfunctory rectification, and a number of environmental violations co-existed.

I. basic information

Ganxian Hongjin rare Earth Co., Ltd. is located in Hongjin Industrial Park, Ganzhou High-tech Zone, Jiangxi Province. It was acquired by China Minmetals Group in October 2008 and became a wholly owned subsidiary of China Minmetals Group Co., Ltd. mainly through extraction separation process to produce more than 10 kinds of rare earth metal oxide products.

In July 2016 and June 2018, during the period of inspection and "looking back" at Jiangxi Province, the central environmental protection inspection team, in response to the unorganized emissions of Gan County Hongjin rare Earth Co., Ltd., and the odour disturbing people in the Hongjin Industrial Park (Phase I), called and sent letters to report 16 times. After the inspection team was handed over, the local ecological environment department ordered the enterprises to rectify and carry out on-the-spot inspection, but as of this time, the inspectors were stationed. The enterprise has never been rectified.

II. Existing problems

(1) passively respond to the rectification and reform of inspectors

There are obvious problems of hydrogen chloride and unorganized emission of organic waste gas in 4 extraction workshops and 3 affiliated workshops of the company. In September 2015, its superior enterprises pointed out the problem when carrying out safety and environmental protection inspections of the company, and recommended that waste gas collection and treatment be carried out as soon as possible. Subsequently, the company formulated a rectification plan, and plans to invest 700000 yuan to complete the waste gas treatment and transformation of one of the extraction workshops in February 2016. by the end of 2016, the company will invest 1.7 million yuan to complete the waste gas treatment and transformation of the remaining three extraction workshops and three affiliated workshops. In 2016, its superior enterprises agreed to the implementation of workshop waste gas treatment and transformation, and allocated funds of 2.4 million yuan in two phases. However, Gan County Hongjin rare Earth Co., Ltd. only completed the waste gas treatment and transformation of one workshop that year, and the other workshops did not carry out the treatment work.

In July 2016, the Central Environmental Protection Supervision team launched inspectors in Jiangxi Province; in June 2018, it carried out a "look back" on Jiangxi Province and transferred it to the masses many times to report problems. However, the company has always been negative, dissatisfied, did not take any substantive rectification measures. In particular, in May 2018, on the eve of the "looking back" of the Central Environmental Protection Inspector, Minmetals rare Earth Group Co., Ltd. specifically instructed Ganxian Red Gold rare Earth Co., Ltd. to speed up the rectification and reform work, the company also promised to complete the rectification and reform by July 2019, but by the time of the site inspection, the enterprise had not yet begun the rectification and reform work.

(2) resorting to fraud in response to inspection by inspectors

In June 2018, due to environmental pollution and other problems, the local government ordered the enterprises within the Hongjin Industrial Park (Phase I) to complete the relocation by the end of June 2020, and Ganxian Hongjin rare Earth Co., Ltd. was included in the scope of relocation. After defining the relocation plan, Ganxian Hongjin rare Earth Co., Ltd. simply and thoroughly shelved the waste gas treatment and transformation work, and did not take effective measures to strengthen management and reduce emissions, nor did it take necessary measures to reduce production and limit production to reduce pollution. Only set up a water seal in the extraction tank to cope with the inspection. On the eve of this inspection, the China Minmetals Group asked the production enterprises to report the hidden dangers of environmental pollution. The company concealed the facts and reported that "the problem has been rectified and corrected."

In June 2019, local environmental protection authorities again pointed out the problem of unorganized emissions from several of the company's extraction workshops, fined them 50,000 yuan and ordered immediate rectification, but the company remained indifferent. This inspector site inspection, the company workshop closed doors and windows, the person in charge claimed that the enterprise has stopped production. However, the inspectors still smell the obvious smell, and find the smell into the workshop, found that all the production equipment in the enterprise workshop are in normal production, the smell in the workshop is very serious.

(3) coexistence of a variety of environmental problems

Since Ganxian Hongjin rare Earth Co., Ltd. was approved by environmental assessment in 2004, the production capacity of Ganxian Hongjin rare Earth Co., Ltd. has continued to expand, and the separation capacity of rare earth oxides formed at present is more than 3 times that of the approved capacity of environmental assessment in 2004. However, the inspectors read the materials and found that each phase of the reconstruction and expansion projects have not gone through the examination and approval procedures for environmental impact assessment in accordance with the law, and belong to the pre-approved construction.

In June 2019, the local environmental protection department found that the enterprise had six problems, such as the unmatched volume of the emergency pool in the tank area and the surface corrosion caused by improper acid removal, and imposed a fine of 30,000 yuan on the open storage of industrial waste in the company. During this inspection, it was found that there were still some problems in the enterprise, such as non-standard storage of sludge in sewage treatment station, non-standard setting of chemical tank cofferdam, and direct discharge of sewage because of the connection between sewage ditch and Rain Water ditch.

Fig. 4 Tank cofferdam does not meet management requirements

III. Cause analysis

(1) lack of ideological understanding. Gan County Hongjin rare Earth Co., Ltd. environmental law-abiding consciousness is not strong, the masses' concept is weak, turn a blind eye to the prominent environmental problems repeatedly complained and reported by the masses, and do not strictly implement the pollution control requirements put forward by environmental protection departments and higher-level enterprises. Rectification and reform work attitude is negative, perfunctory.

(2) the responsibility for environmental protection is pressed but not true. Although China Minmetals Group Company and Minmetals rare Earth Group Co., Ltd. have pointed out the problem of environmental pollution in Ganxian Hongjin rare Earth Group Co., Ltd., but they have not taken strict punishment measures, and the group lacks the transmission mechanism of environmental protection responsibility. as a result, the enterprise has been lucky for a long time and has not assumed the main responsibility for pollution control.

The inspection team will further investigate and verify the relevant situation, and do a good job of follow-up supervision in accordance with the relevant requirements and procedures. If dereliction of duty is involved, Minmetals Group will be required to investigate and be held accountable.

Rare earths
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