26 March 2010 07:13 [Source: ICIS news]
By Nurluqman Suratman and Ng Hun Wei
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Formosa Plastics Corp, a major petrochemical group in Taiwan, may be forced to shut down its vinyls facility in Jenwu after a government report revealing the plant was causing pollution sparked protests from villagers on Thursday, industry sources said on Friday.
FPC may offer lower PVC volumes for exports due to concerns that the 546,000 tonne/year Jenwu plant would stop production in the coming weeks, market sources said.
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VCM is a feedstock for producing PVC, which is mainly used in construction materials.
FPC was taking measures to contain the pollution and has no immediate plans to close production at its Jenwu facilities, company spokesperson Hsiao Shou-yuan told ICIS news.
The plant was on normal operations on Thursday when about 200 villagers gathered at the site to demand the closure of the facility, according to company officials.
FPC officials did not elaborate on the steps being taken by the company.
The company was facing a fine of up to New Taiwanese dollar (NT$) 750,000 ($23,459) for causing the pollution, according to EPA.
Another pollution test would be conducted by EPA at the plant site next week, while villagers were reported to be preparing to launch massive protests next Monday.
“The plant has been in operation since 40 years ago so it is not surprising to find some pollution below it,” said Jack Shieh, executive manager of the Petrochemicals Industry Association of Taiwan, citing that the usual “wear-and-tear” of pipes over the years may have caused the leak of chemicals to the ground.
In case Jenwu had to be shut, Shieh said FPC can ramp up production at its newer PVC plant in Mailiao.
($1 = NT$31.97)
With additional reporting from Judith Wang
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