TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--In response to a statement made by a deceased Taiwanese director that the cement mine near Taroko Gorge in eastern Taiwan featured in his 2013 documentary was dug much deeper than three years ago, the boss of the mine said on Tuesday that the pit was dug deeper to minimize the area impacted by the mining and the dipper pit would be good for raising fish in the future.
The statement was made by Chi Po-lin (齊柏林) before his death in a helicopter crash on Saturday while surveying an area in the east coast for the sequel to the 2013 documentary.
Chi’s “Beyond Beauty—Taiwan from Above” released in 2013 documented Taiwan from an aerial perspective offering a glimpse of Taiwan's natural beauty as well as the effect of human activities and urbanization on its environment. The documentary won Best Documentary at the 50th Golden Horse Awards.
The cement mine located in Taroko National Park operated by Asia Cement Corp (ACC) is featured among other sites in the documentary to show human-inflicted environmental changes in Taiwan.
Asia Cement Corp is located in Taroko National Park.
Chi’s statement on the cement mine has prompted many environmentalists to sign a petition in a bid to revoke the company’s 20-year mining rights extension in Taroko National Park.
ACC Chairman Douglas Hsu (徐旭東) said, “Don’t we like Taiwan? Do we like to make a mass of it?”
He admitted that the photos of the mine don’t look good, but said the cost of digging it deeper is higher than otherwise. The public should understand that digging deeper means the pit can store more water and will be good for raising fish in the future, he added.
The mining rights extension is legal, he said, and if legal rights can be revoked, that will be Taiwan’s problem.
If all the cement mines in Taiwan are banned for environmental reasons, Taiwan will have to import all the cement it needs, and a ton of imported cement costs US$30 excluding the transportation expense, he said. “Who can bear such high costs?” he asked.