Can Vietnam exploit coal for hundreds of years?

  • by VNBUSINESS
  • September 28, 2016

If Vietnam continues exploiting 50 million tons of coal each year, the coal would run out after 15 years, not 50 years, as planned by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), experts say.

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MOIT has announced a decision on adjusting the coal industry development plan by 2020 with the vision until 2030. Vietnam is focusing on exploiting coal at the Dong Bac coal basin with total reserves of 6.2 billion tons. If it exploits 50 million tons a year, it would be able to exploit coal at the basin for 40-50 more years.  Meanwhile, if the exploitation at Red River basin (42 billion tons) succeeds, the coal reserves would be enough for Vietnam for hundreds of years more.
If Vietnam continues exploiting 50 million tons of coal each year, the coal would run out after 15 years, not 50 years, as planned by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT)
Nguyen Thanh Son, former director of the Red River Delta’s Coal Project Management Board of Vinacomin, the biggest coal mine company, said that MOIT was ‘too optimistic’ when forecasting coal exploitation capability and designing the coal mining development program. “The coal amount left is not asvmuch as estimated by MOIT,” he said. “The coal reserve in Quang Ninh area is about 1 billion tons only. And this is a geological reserve, while the industrial reserve is just 700-800 million tons,” he said. As such, if Vietnam exploits 50 million tons of coal each year, the coal will run out in 15 years, not 50 years. Son said that the 6.2 billion tons worth of coal reserves estimated by MOIT are just  ‘potential’. “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” he said. Meanwhile, Nguyen Xuan Khien, former head of the Institute of Geosciences and Minerals, thinks that it is possible to exploit 50 tons of coal each year and for 50 years, but Vietnam would have to do this undervvery difficult conditions. Costs would be higher to exploit coal at a lower depth, because the easily exploited coal is running out. Regarding the Red River coal basin, Son commented that Vietnam should try UCG (underground coal gasification). However, if the technology cannot be used in Vietnam, Vietnamese should forget about the coal basin. What Vietnam needs to do is to carry out technological experiments to find out what type of coal is at the Red River basin and how to use it. Scientists believe that the coal is good for electricity generation, but they will still need many more experiments to identify other characteristics. Khien also said that Vietnam may not be able to exploit coal at the Red River basin in the near future because of difficult conditions, and the possible effects on people’s lives have not been anticipated.
 

Dat Viet

Source: VietNamNet

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