Vietnam will become a coal importer in 2017 of 2.3 million tones for domestic electricity production. (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam will become a coal importer in 2017 of 2.3 million tonnes for domestic electricity production, according to Nguyen Tien Chinh from the Vietnam Mining Science and Technology Association (VIMA).

He made this declaration at an energy conference hosted in Hanoi on December 3.

The conference aims to find solutions for the management of science and application of advanced technologies for petroleum and coal mining in Vietnam.

Currently, the country's total coal reserve is about 47 billion tones. Of this figure, the reliable coal reserve is about 3.9 billion tones, said Le Van Duan, Deputy Director of the VINACOMIN Industry Investment Consulting JSC.
By 2025, the volume of coal imports will be about 48 million tonnes and in 2030 about 80 million tonnes, according to Chinh.

He said that Vietnam could import from major coal export countries, including Australia, Indonesia, Russia or South Africa, but each country has its own problems.

Australia has a stable coal import policy but it has a high investment cost. Indonesia has an advantage of transport distance but in the future, this country's domestic demand will increase, therefore the Indonesian government tends to limit exports, Chinh said.

Meanwhile Russia has great potential in coal reserves but it has harsh weather conditions and is far from Vietnam. South Africa also has the potential of coal reserves and low production costs but its transport infrastructure is poor, said Chinh.

Therefore, in order to provide a stable coal supply for domestic products, Vietnam should build and organise an import policy and strategy, he concluded.

The implementation of the periodic mining activities reports of some individual organisations have not been taken seriously, said Lai Hong Thanh, Director of the Northern Department for Control of Minerals Activities in the conference.

This has led to the difficulty of the Government in controlling the actual coal mining output of these organisations and individuals.

To remedy this condition, he suggested the Government must have the statistics of the inventory of the reserves to understand the volatility of each mineral, Thanh said.

In addition, the Government should consider establishing a mineral fund and allocate it to the Ministry of Finance to manage. This fund would be established by the revenues from natural resource taxes, payments for mineral extraction rights, and revenue from auction mining rights, according to Thanh.-VNA