Natural minerals will be protected, managed, exploited, and used in a reasonable, economical, and efficient manner to serve the country’s short and long-term socio-economic sustainable development, national defence and security, and environmental protection.

It was stated in the mineral strategy mapped out for the period from now to 2020 with a vision toward 2030, which was approved by the Prime Minister.

Accordingly, production of all small-sized mineral processing facilities and out-of-date technologies causing environmental pollution need to be halted by 2020, said Head of the Heavy Industry Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Nguyen Manh Quan.

Exploitation needs to combine with processing and hi-tech processing industrial zones must be developed, Quan said.

He proposed boosting international cooperation to gain cutting-edged technologies in the surveying, exploration, exploitation and processing of minerals and encouraging the sector’s external partnerships to process the minerals that are hugely needed by the country.

Dr. Nguyen Van Thuan, Head of the General Department of Geology and Minerals, said over 5,000 mining and mineral sites have been identified nationwide to date.

Several minerals were estimated to hold huge reserves, such as oil and gas coal, titanium, bauxite, and rare earth, Thuan said.

Over the past years, the mining sector has significantly contributed to the country’s industrial development and economic growth.

Petroleum and coal are noted for earning hard currencies for the country, bringing home about 10 billion USD in 2012 alone.-VNA