The Coal Industry’s Bizarre

January 30, 2012

Thanh Nien News

Page 6
The flattened mountain coal, the continuously broken record of extraction indicates that coal resources are increasingly depleted. Regardless of this, the coal is being exported.

Pointing to a mining site of 436 Cao Son Coal Corporation (a subsidiary of Vinacomin), Mr. Nguyen Khanh Hoan, deputy chief of representative office of the company, said this coal hill is mined from the 80s of last century. In spite of height as 436ms, this coal hills are gradually “shorten”, now just less than 300m. “At this rate, 10 years from now this 436 hill mine will disappear”, said Mr Hoan.
Break digging record

Due to the policy to decrease open-cast mining to minimize harm to the environment, plus the coal resources were progressively exhausted, the coal mining companies is implementing projects to deeper into the ground to find coal. That is the reason depth record as 250m of vertical wells Mong Duong is broken by a series of project, despite continuing to dig deeper into the ground is not easy.
Mr Bui Xuan May, deputy director of Khe Cham Coal Company, said Khe Cham 1 mine is mined at a depth of 225m. The plan that Khe Cham 3 coal mine dug down to the depth of 300m in 2006 to produce the first furnace in 2010 did not work due to difficulties of geology in this area. Khe Cham 2 and 4 coal mine are being invested and to be dug to the depth of 500m in stage one and up to 1260m in following stages.

Coc Sau, Deo Nai – the open-cast mining are also invested to exploit underground as open-cast mines is running out. Coc Sau coal mine is pitted at the depth of 90m and is proceeding up to 375m in 2015 at the end of mine life. Cao Son open-cast mine is pitted at a depth of 150m. By 2017, Nui Beo Coal Company must also stop open-cast mining and switch to exploit underground.

According to the coal industry development plan, in 2015 Vinacomin will have to stop open-cast coal mining in Hon Gai (Quang Ninh). Since 2015, the target is that Quang Ninh Province produces 65 to 80 million tons of coal, in which coal from underground accounts for 90 to 95%. However, Khe Cham 3 mine with productivity of 2.5 million tons/year does not produce coal till the end of 2014. Khe Cham 2 and 4 with productivity of 3.5 million tons/year does not produce coal till 2017.

Export regardless of coal deficiency

According to data published in 2011 by Vinacomin, in 2015 the group can produce 55-60 million tons of coal, coal needs to be imported is about 6 million tons. In 2016, the country is still lack of 25 million tons. In 2020, domestic production is expected to reach 67-72 million tons and imports need to cover is up to 66 million tons. According to the latest figures at the conference mission deployment in 2012 of Vinacomin, the figure is imported in 2015 was 10 million tons.

Dr. Nguyen Thanh Son, General Director of Red River Energy, warned: “After 2030, Quang Ninh coal basin exists only up to 8 years before closing. The new coal mines in the Northeast can be “life” longer, but only up to 2055. Meanwhile, new coal mines in the Red River Delta which is forecasted to be huge reserves it is difficult to exploit”.
However, the numbers of millions of tons to be imported in the near future and the difficulties in exploiting the reserves are contrasts strangely with coal exported by Vinacomin over the years. Specifically, in 2006, Vinacomin exported 21.5 million tons while domestic consumption is 16 million tons. In 2007, the export was 24.1 million tons while domestic consumption is 17.5 million tons. Although the difference (between export and domestic consumption) decreases, the export was 16.9 million tons while domestic consumption is 28 million tons in 2011. In 2012, the export is expected to be 32 million tons and domestic consumption is expected to be 13.5 million tons.

The need of tough policy

Vinacomin leaders repeatedly explained, only “they only export bad coals and non-demanded good coals. The selling price to electricity producers is too low while coal industry need a large amount of capital for reinvestment. The country needs tough decisions to protect coal resources which are gradually exhausted.

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