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Controversial Chemical Plant Moves Ahead in Fujian Province

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After a delay lasting two years, construction began last month on a $2-billion chemical plant in Zhangzhou, in China’s Fujian Province. The plant site is on the Gulei peninsula, 50 miles from Zhangzhou, a city with 4 million people. Officials in neighboring Xiamen, the original site, cancelled the project in 2007 following protests over potential pollution and health problems. Central-government agencies reassessed the project, and in January the Ministry of Environmental Protection approved an environmental impact review. The plant owner is Tenglong Aromatic PX Co. Ltd., whose parent company is the Xianglu Group, from Taiwan. The plant will produce paraxylene (PX), a basic raw material for producing polyester fibers and films. It is scheduled for completion in early 2011. Nearby, construction began simultaneously on a separate plant, which will use the PX to produce purified terephthalic acid, or PTA, which is used in polyester coatings and resins. The PTA plant will cost $715 million.

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