Developing the bauxite mining and processing industry is a very correct and necessary policy, Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang has said.

The policy had been carefully considered by the Party, State, National Assembly and Government before two pilot projects in the Central Highlands were entrusted to Vinacomin, Hoang said in an interview with Vietnam Television on March 10.

According to him, Vietnam currently has to import around half a million tonne of aluminum annually, which costs more than 1 billion USD. The figure is forecast to be 0.75 – 1 million tonnes by 2020 and 1.6 – 2 million tonnes by 2030.

Besides, the implementation of the two projects in the Central Highlands provinces of Lam Dong and Dak Nong will also help the region boost its socio-economic development and improve local people’s life. Additionally, bauxite ore is also the basis for the establishment of a long-term aluminum refining industry and an important source of power for the industrialisation and modernisation in Vietnam .

Therefore, projects to explore, mine and process bauxite play an essential role for the country, Hoang noted.

Surveys show that Vietnam’s bauxite reserves are around 10-11 billion tonnes, mostly in the Central Highlands, of which about 4.6 billion tonnes in Dak Nong and 2 billion tonnes in Lam Dong.

Although the industry is new to Vietnam, the country still decides to invest in all stages of the projects from mining to processing bauxite ore because the Central Highlands is a strategic region for Vietnam and foreign technologies will be only used in the stages the country cannot develop.

Vietnam considers good planning for the industry as an important task, and during the implementation of the planning, it will make timely adjustments. The country also plans to develop the industry from a small scale to bigger ones after completing pilot projects. This explains why Vietnam now invests in only two pilot projects in Tan Rai (Lam Dong) and Nhan Co (Dak Nong). At present, the two projects are under a slow progress due to series of reasons, both subjective and objective.

However, at the end of 2012, trial production of aluminum products was successfully carried out in Tan Rai project. Basically, the products meet quality standards. Meanwhile, the Nhan Co project is expected to start operation by 2014.

The two projects are not purely business-oriented. Vietnam wishes to see socio-economic effects on the development of the Central Highlands, the bauxite industry and the whole economy as well.

As the bauxite planning underwent revision, the government asked concerned sides to carry out mining and processing projects at smaller scales. Concretely, combined capacity of the two pilot projects was adjusted to be around 1.3 million tonnes a year, much lower than the initial capacity.

Regarding environmental impacts, especially mud wastes, the minister stressed that people can feel secure as the projects attracted the participation of various state administration agencies, and domestic and foreign scientists.-VNA