Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has ratified the country's mineral resources strategy for 2020 with a vision to 2030.

Under the strategy, investment priority will be given to conducting basic geological surveys on land and at sea to estimate the country's mineral resources.

Exploration and extraction will be closely associated with processing and efficient use of the resources.

The overall objective of the strategy is to combine the sustainable extraction of resources with processing in order to produce products with high economic value.

Viet Nam targets to terminate the production of all small mineral processing facilities and technology which causes pollution and results in low economic efficiency by 2020.

It also resolves to export only processed mineral resources of high value after 2020.

Key resources that the country wants to focus on are peat in the Red River Delta; bauxite and laterite in the Central Highlands; rare earth and zinc in the northwestern region, Viet Bac and central region; lithium and gold in the central part and light-coloured granite in the north.

For coal exploration and mining, work will be conducted 300m below the Quang Ninh, Thai Nguyen and Quang Nam coal basins. For mining in the Red River delta, the strategy asks for the best options to ensure negative impacts on socio-economic development are minimised while protecting the environment.

Gold mining will continue to be carried out in existing mines but only advanced technologies will be permitted.

The Prime Minister has adopted an action programme to turn the strategy into reality.

The key objective of the programme is to define tasks for central and local government agencies in their execution of Resolution 02-NQ/TW on the strategic orientation for mining and the mineral resources industry by 2020 with a vision 2030.

Under the programme, popularisation of the Law on Mineral Resources will be conducted; the enforcement and effectiveness of the state management on mineral resources strengthened; mechanisms and policies in the field of mineral resources renewed; and the mineral resources industry developed.

The Government has assigned specific tasks to each ministry. By late March 2012, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment must complete a guiding document to implement the Law on Mineral Resources and the decree on tendering the rights to extracting minerals.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has been assigned with the task of completing the organisational structure on State management from central to local governments, including human resources development./.