Construction of a 450-million-USD Vietnam-Laos project to process salt in Khammouan province in Laos will start next month, according to the Vietnam Chemical Group (Vinachem).

The Vinachem-backed project, signed in February last year with the Lao Planning and Investment Ministry, is its first in the field. The group will mine salt across an area of 10sq.km for 20 years and also build a factory to process 320,000 tonnes a year.

The Lao Government granted the group 196.5sq.km of land to survey for possible salt mines. On completion, the project will be able to supply the Lao market, reducing salt imports and boosting economic development in Khammouan province.

According to the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), mining industry represents 80 percent of foreign direct investment in Laos, accounts for 45 percent of its total exports, and is responsible for 12 percent of government revenues and 10 per cent of national income.-VNA