return icon

Miners lobby for right to export coal without limitation, MOIT demurs

Coal miners want the government to open the door for them to export high-quality coal, saying that Vietnam does not use this type of coal or uses very little of it.

High-quality coal not used for electricity generation

“Importing and exporting coal are very normal things,” Tran Xuan Hoa, chair of the Vietnam Mining Science and Technology Association said at a recent workshop on national energy master programming.





Hoa, former president of the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin), said that hard coal like anthracite that Vinacoal exploits is not suitable for thermal power generation, because this type of coal is not easily fired and needs to be mixed with oil to burn.

Anthracite is high-quality coal that can go for good prices and be used for coking plants and steel production. Coal for power generation is much cheaper. The supply of coal for power generation is plentiful in the world market and there is no difficulty importing this type of coal.

According to Hoa, in Australia the stripping ratio is 3-5 cubic meters of rock per 1 ton of coal, which means that mining one ton of coal requires mining three tons of waste rock.

Meanwhile, in Vietnam, the ratio is up to 13 cubic meters per 1 ton of coal, and the figure is 17 cubic meters in some places. This means that the cost per ton of coal exploited is much higher in Vietnam.

Other countries stop mining coal if the prices are not high enough to ensure profits.

In the past, Japan exploited a lot of coal, but later stopped mining because it found that importing coal was preferable. The country now only maintains exploitation at one mine in the north, with annual output of 300,000-500,000 tons per annum.

Coal miners understand that it is a big waste to mix high-quality anthracite with cheap coal to use for electricity generation.


Vietnam not only has to import coal, but also has to increase the import of LNG (Liquefied natural gas) to increase the proportion of gas-fired power in the total electricity generation sources to 21 percent by 2030.


However, Vinacoal cannot export anthracite in large quantities. It has to seek permission from many ministries and can only export coal in accordance with the quotas allocated to it.

In recent years, Vinacomin and Dong Bac Corporation, another miner, have been allowed to export 2 million tons of anthracite each year.

Hoa proposed applying a mechanism which allows miners to sell coal in accordance with market prices and not be forced to sell coal at low prices, no matter who the buyers are.

A representative from Vinacomin has also asked for a more open mechanism to pave the way for the miner to export coal.

“Anthracite is a high rank of coal and it would be a big waste using it to generate electricity,” he said, explaining why Vietnam should continue to export coal though it now has to import tens of million of tons of coal each year.

“Anthracite and coal for thermal power generation are two quite different types of coal,” he said, suggesting that when building an energy development plan, it would be better not to fix the export volume.

“The coal not used domestically should be allowed to be sold. We will import the coal we need, and we will import as much as we need,” he said.

He went on to say that the energy development plan needs to contain predictions about production costs and outputs in the following years.

Miners, once reaching these thresholds, will have to figure out their plans, including plans about labor transformation, as well as shifting from open-cast mining to underground mining or even stopping exploitation.


In reply, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Dang Hoang An said coal exploitation, and importing and exporting, are macro problems which should not be decided based on prices only.

Regarding the opinion that when coal prices become too low it would be better to close mines and shift to use imports, An questioned what would happen if the world market fluctuates and it becomes very difficult to import coal and workers who left coal mines would not come back.

He said that it is necessary to carefully consider the import of primary energy. Vietnam needs to calculate how much it needs to import and how much to exploit domestically to ensure sustainable development.

Experts warn that massive imports will turn energy security into a national security problem.

Vietnam not only has to import coal, but also has to increase the import of LNG (Liquefied natural gas) to increase the proportion of gas-fired power in the total electricity generation sources to 21 percent by 2030.

An said the reliance on imports would be a problem, because no one can say for sure that the world market will be stable forever and that imports will always be easy to acquire. 

Luong Bang

Vietnam to increase imports of coal and gas

Vietnam to increase imports of coal and gas

The latest data from the ministry sent to the National Assembly shows that Viet Nam is transitioning from an energy exporter to a net importer.

Energy security: Vietnam says ‘no’ to coal-fired thermopower

Energy security: Vietnam says ‘no’ to coal-fired thermopower

Under a scenario described in the eighth national power development master plan (Plan 8), which is now being compiled, Vietnam would not build more coal-fired thermopower plants from 2026 to 2030.


Vietnam among world's worst performing stock markets in first half

In the first half of 2022, both market's benchmark index and liquidity plunged sharply, with the VN-Index posting a dip of over 20 per cent, making it one of the world's worst-performing stock markets.

Vietnam, Thailand to soon resume commercial flights

Vietnam and Thailand should soon restore commercial flights and open new routes to facilitate tourism and trade cooperation between the two countries.


Vietsovpetro launches two support sets of Dragon oilfield

New milestone in Vietnam’s relations with Hungary, UK

The five-day visits of Vietnam’s National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue to Hungary and the UK marked a new milestone in bilateral relations, eventually contributing to the Vietnam-EU partnership.

Vietnam remains among major global production facilities

The nation continues to be "named" in the list of major global production facilities, with six-month export turnover reaching US$185.94 billion, marking a year-on-year rise of 17.3% and a trade surplus of more than US$ 700 million.

Steering committee established to boost economic recovery effort

The Government has established a steering committee for the deployment of the country’s economic recovery and development program, led by Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai.

Entertainment and cultural events of the week (July 4-10)

Upcoming entertainment and cultural events in Vietnam's major cities on July 4-10/2022.

Kim Duyen wins Supra Model Asia at Miss Supranational 2022

Kim Duyen - Vietnamese representative at Miss Supranational 2022 - qualified in the top 11 Supra Chat and was awarded the title of Supra Model Asia of Miss Supranational 2022.

VN Trade Promotion Department lauds ASEAN export opportunites

Vietnamese businesses have many opportunities to increase export goods to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, according to the Trade Promotion Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

New policy boosts insurance market's long-term development

The newly-issued Law on Insurance Business is expected to positively impact the insurance market's long-term development.

Rules on business in prize electronic games for foreigners

The Ministry of Finance has issued a circular guiding the implementation of some articles of the Government’s Decree No. 121/2021/ND-CP on business in prize electronic games for foreigners in Vietnam.

Vietnam wins 13 awards at “Two country circuit” photo contest

Vietnamese photographers have won 13 medals and certificates of honour in travel, portrait and free categories at the 7th “Two Country Circuit” photo contest 2022.

True Italian Taste 2022 promotes Italian cuisine in VN

True Italian Taste 2022, a project aiming to promote authentic Italian cuisine to the world, has kicked off in Vietnam.

Who will work when so many public-sector staff have been disciplined?

“No need to worry that the country won’t have cadres to work," said Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong.

Labour export to South Korea temporarily halted for eight localities

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) has announced that the labour migration programme with South Korea will be temporarily suspended for eight districts, towns and cities.