Vietnam is prioritising its cooperartion with Australia in sustainable mineral exploitation, as the latter boasts a rich seam of experience in safe mining that can limit environmental damage and benefit the community.

Addressing a forum in Hanoi on March 19, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Minh Quang said the Vietnamese Government always pays due attention to sustainable economic development.

The Prime Minister has recently approved a strategy integrating mineral exploration and exploitation with effective processing and utilisation through 2020 and with a vision to 2030.

The strategy also aims to strike a balance between mineral exploitation and reservation, develop the mineral industry in a sustainable fashion and in line with environmental protection and national security and defence policy, Quang said.

To realise this, Vietnam has been actively strengthening cooperation with international partners, including those from Australia , to acquire modern technology for surveying, exploring, and exploiting minerals.

The forum, the first of its kind in the field, creates a good chance for mineral management agencies and businesses to exchange experience in sustainable mineral exploitation, environmental protection, and effective management of mineral resources, the Minister said.

Layton Pike, a representative from the Australian Embassy in Vietnam , said Vietnam is an important partner of his country, particularly as a leading member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The two countries share many mutual interests, such as the development of energy safety, he said, adding that the forum will help increase capacity and long-term cooperation among businesses.

According to Dr Nguyen Van Thuan, head of the Ministry's General Department of Geology and Minerals, Vietnamese mineral resources are diverse, ranging from oil and gas to coal to metal.

However, the reserves are not big and remain uneven in some mining areas, he said, adding that it is necessary to implement a policy ensuring mineral resources are utilised efficiently to bring about sustainable economic development without causing any lasting damage.-VNA