Vietnamese Prime Minister nixes major steel mill project

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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered a halt to work on a major steel plant, citing environmental and other concerns.

The Vietnam-based Hoa Sen Group last year announced plans to build a $10.6 billion complex with an annual capacity of 16 million tons of steel.

A government statement Monday called for further studies on the potential environmental impact of the project, and its economic feasibility.

It cited risks of a disaster like the chemical spill last year during a test run at another steel complex, built by Taiwan's Formosa Plastic Group, that devastated fisheries, tourism and the economies of four central provinces.

Formosa Plastic paid $500 million in compensation for the accident, considered Vietnam's worst environmental disaster.

Economic concerns are another factor, given the glut in world steel supplies.