I came across a story on the weekend about the Huomei alumina refinery in Inner Mongolia.
According to the news story, 300 tribal herdsmen protested at the plant recently, but their protest was cut short by the presence of 500 police and security guards. The story says that police roughed up a few of the protesters, arresting some. A video of the scene shows police grabbing a guy by the limbs and taking him towards a police bus.
The herders were protesting against the alleged unauthorised dumping of waste into local land and water supply areas. Photos show dead cows and sheep that the protesters claim were poisoned by the effluent. The protesters also claim that the health of some of their children is also being affected by the plant.
Huomei is owned by the CPI group, which is now part of the SPI group – The State Power Investment Group. Huomei has a smelter in the area as well, with about 350,000t capacity.
Management at Huomei claim that they have offered to relocate the herders to new housing away from the plant. But the herders have rejected this offer.
Here is a link to the story.
This is not the first time Huomei has been in the news over this claim. We are aware of a similar protest about 12 months ago. It’s not just red mud problems either, from what we can deduce. In 2010, the smelter was punished by the local government for excess fluoride emissions, and a recent blog on a Chinese website claimed that the government was investigating Huomei for illegal sulphur dioxide emissions, which suggests problems in their carbon stream.
Huomei’s problems compare poorly with another smelter in the same area. Zhaluteqi Guangtai Aluminium smelter was recently named as a “Green Plant” by the local EPA.
The feature image comes from SPI’s website for the smelter.