Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved the inclusion of at least eight projects in the country's coal industry development planning for 2020-2030 to meet domestic demand, especially for electricity.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade made the proposal amid fears of a shortage of coal in Vietnam for electricity generation and industrial production beginning next year.

Industry experts forecast the country to face a coal shortage from next year, especially for electricity generation, which might amount to 50 million tonnes by 2020.

An estimate posted on the website of the Vietnam National Coal, Mineral Industries Holding Group (Vinacomin) said the country must import about 1.3 million tonnes of coal in 2015 and 64 million tonnes in 2020 to make up for the shortage.

On coal extraction projects, the Prime Minister has agreed to add to the planning Nam Trang Bach mine with a capacity of 500,000 tonnes per year, the Cai Da mine with a capacity of 300,000 tonnes per year, and Khe Tam and Tay Nam Khe Tam mines, each with a capacity of 200,000 tonnes per year.

Also added is Dong Da Mai mine, in the northern Quang Ninh province's Cam Pha mining zone, which will have its capacity increased from 450,000 tonnes per year to 1.5 million tonnes per year.

The project in Tan Yen and Dong Trang Bach in the Uong Bi-Dong Trieu-Pha Lai mining zone will be split into two separate projects with a capacity of 200,000 tonnes and 450,000 tonnes, respectively. The exploratory project of Nui Hong mine is also added.

According to the coal industry development planning by 2020, with vision to 2030, which the Prime Minister approved under Decision 60/QD-TTg, the coal industry's output is expected to reach 55-58 million tonnes by 2015, 60-65 million tonnes by 2020 and more than 75 million tonnes by 2030.

At the end of last year, however, Vinacomin reported that the estimated reserve of the Dong Bac (North East) coal basin was 20.8 percent lower than the figure in the planning. As a result, the maximum coal output by 2025 to 2030 could be only 65 million tonnes, or 10 million tonnes lower than the target.-VNA