Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - The Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin) should have a suitable structure to develop its members to become a strong economic group, said Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung.

Speaking at the conference held in Hanoi on January 11, Dung said Vinacomin should focus on two main tasks of coal exploitation and trading to ensure national energy security. In addition, it should improve competitiveness for its products and protect the environment to contribute to the country’s socio-economic development.

“In addition, Vinacomin must be one of the key State-owned enterprises in ensuring coal supply to the economy. The group should not only produce coal but ensure the competitiveness of exported coals, materials and operation for plants using coal,” he said.

He added that the electricity demand has been on the rise. Thermal power plants account for 34 percent of total electricity plants in Vietnam.

In the near future, the number of thermal power plants will be higher as hydropower plants have not increased while the development of renewable energy plants has been slow.

“This year, the coal balance for local demand has been enough. However, the country will have to import 20 million tonnes of coal by 2020, 50 million tonnes by 2025 and 80-100 million tonnes by 2030. This will be a big challenge for the economy in general and the energy sector in particular,” he said, adding that Vinacomin should be active in their coal exploitation and imports to meet local demand.

The Deputy PM also asked Vinacomin to improve the quality of exploration of coal and other natural resources. These will form a scientific foundation for exploitation planning and the prevention of environmental disasters.

He also required the group to improve the quality of investment projects to avoid losses. The coal sector should have solutions in place to protect the environment in coal exploitation, transport and usage. In addition, Vinacomin should concentrate on restructuring and reviewing its key products in each investment period. It should also invest in technologies and human resources to increase productivity and labour safety.

Vinacomin’s general director Dang Thanh Hai said it has set a target of 36 million tonnes of coal this year, an increase of 1.5 million tonnes from 2016, while domestic coal consumption will be 34.5 million tonnes, and 1.5 million tonnes for export.

It also targeted a turnover of 107 trillion VND (4.75 billion USD), posting a 6 percent year-on-year increase.

Hai said the Government has allowed coal exports in the 2017-20 period to help the sector’s activity in production and trade.

He said the coal price for electricity production has been increased following market prices. However, the costs of production, exploration, labour and environmental protection has also been higher, decreasing the sector’s profits, while increasing need for capital investment.

He said Vinacomin will produce coal according to the market’s demand, ensuring suitable investments in coal, minerals, electricity, industries and support services.

“We will continue to complete restructuring which focuses on technology renewal and management mechanisms to reduce production costs and enhance competitiveness. The issues of salary, working conditions and welfare for labourers would be also given attention,” he added.-VNA