Hong Kong, Japanese firms seek to invest US$3 billion in Ha Tinh

A consortium of Hong Kong’s Lee & Man Paper Manufacturing Limited and Japan’s Hokuetsu Group has proposed developing a complex with a deepwater seaport, a logistics center and a paper mill worth US$3 billion in Vung Ang Economic Zone in the north-central coastal province of Ha Tinh. The proposal, however, raised concern on environmental protection and vast land area needed.

At a meeting with the Ha Tinh government on September 10, leaders of the two firms said they wished to develop a deepwater seaport with six wharfs that can handle vessels of up to 300,000 tons. The logistics center, when in place, will help receive and distribute dried goods between Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, the local media reported.

Meanwhile, the tissue paper mill will have an annual capacity of one million tons, together with plants manufacturing auxiliary equipment for the paper mill, the seaport and the logistics center.

The entire project was designed to cover 6,000 hectares of the economic zone, with 1,400 hectares for the paper mill, 600 hectares for the logistics center and 4,000 hectares of water surface area. The project is expected to be operational in 50 years.

The investors planned to execute the project in two phases, completing it within four years if approval is given.

The project, after being put into operation, will create jobs for some 3,000 laborers and contribute an estimated US$150 million to the State budget per year.

Lee & Man and Hokuetsu have committed to using the most up-to-date technology for the project to protect the environment.

Ha Tinh officials stated that they needed more time to consider the feasibility of the project and whether it was appropriate to develop it in Vung Ang Economic Zone.

Ha Tinh Vice Chairman Duong Tat Thang also called on the two firms to study sectors that are prioritized in the economic zone.

The investment does not match the amount of land proposed for the project, and the number of jobs being created by the project is not very high, Thang added.

Tran Tu Anh, director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, shared this view, noting that the province does not prioritize paper mill projects in Vung Ang Economic Zone but the steel sector and wharf and seaport development projects.

Speaking at the meeting, Secretary of the Ha Tinh Party Committee Le Dinh Son pointed out that the province requires investors to attach great importance to environmental protection, to ensure green and sustainable development.

Son asked the two firms to review the plan’s use of land and sea. Lee & Man and Hokuetsu proposed using 4,000 hectares to build six wharfs, while the Formosa Ha Tinh steel project, for example, used only 1,300 hectares of land to build 32 wharfs.

In addition, the Formosa Ha Tinh steel project created jobs for 10,000 workers, while Lee & Man and Hokuetsu have promised to employ only 3,000 local workers.

At the meeting, the two sides did not reach a conclusion. The investors were asked to review their plans for materials, technology and environmental protection and send the province their solutions to address the identified problems, Son added.


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