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5 July 2009

Lawyer refiles suit against Vietnamese premier

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Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is facing a second lawsuit over controversial bauxite mining projects, German news agency DPA quoted a lawyer as saying Saturday.

"I, Cu Huy Ha Vu, have filed a lawsuit against PM Nguyen Tan Dung on June 11 over his wrong decision to approve the mining plans to Hanoi's People's Court, but the court said it was only authorised to handle cases up to ministerial level, so I decided to re-sue him before Vietnam's Supreme People's Court," said Cu Huy Ha Vu, who filed the lawsuit against Vietnamese [rime minister on Friday.

In his petition to Vietnam's Supreme People's Court, Vu said Dung had broken laws on environmental protection, national defence and security as well as cultural heritage.

Vu asked the court to cancel the prime minister's decision on bauxite projects in the central highlands of Vietnam.

The mining projects, run by the Chinese state aluminium company Chalco, have provoked opposition on environmental and defence grounds. Deputies in Vietnam's National Assembly sharply criticized the mines earlier this month.

In January, revered retired-General Vo Nguyen Giap wrote to the prime minister opposing the mines as a Chinese foothold in the strategically crucial central highlands.

Other critics worry that runoff from the mines will damage the local coffee and cacao industries and ecologically rich forests.

Vietnam's bauxite reserves are among the world's largest at an estimated 8 billion tons.

Bauxite is extracted from open-pit mines, requiring the replacement of topsoil before the land can be reforested or used for agriculture. The refining process creates large amounts of caustic red slurry, which must be contained so as not to pollute water sources. 



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