THE economy of Vietnam is expected to grow by 7% to 8% by 2020 thereby creating significant pressure on energy demand and supply security. This process will be exacerbated by Vietnam’s population boom and rapid urbanization, which means strong domestic demand for the country’s rich mineral resources and particularly coal to provide energy.

As the need to exploit Vietnam’s minerals resources increases, so does the need to create a modern, effective and sustainable mining industry that ensures the country benefits to the full extent while not compromising the environment.

In this regard, Mining Vietnam, the third international mining and minerals recovery trade show held in Hanoi from March 29 to 31, played an important role in increasing awareness of the resources industry opportunities in Vietnam and South East Asia as well as introducing technology from Australia and other sources that can help develop sustainable mining practices.

Vietnam had more than 91 million people in 2015 and although it has rich mineral resources, dealing with the pressures of growth has resulted in development of a Power Master Plan and Mining Strategy for the period until 2030. The plans focus on the following purposes:

  • Developing a sustainable national energy and mining industry;
  • Diversifying and securing energy and resource supplies;
  • Refining and downstream processing of minerals; and
  • Addressing political and environmental pressures to drive economic returns to the nation.

To accomplish these aims, Vietnam is seeking to increase production of its deeper anthracite reserves with high quality grade as well as expanding its coal-fired power sector. This brings opportunities for local and international technology, equipment and service suppliers in terms of:

Coal supply including power generation, steel production and other applications;

METS provisions across the supply chain to local and international mining players;

Mining education and training, eg sustainable mining, mine safety, environmental management and mineral processing; and

Import/export infrastructure capabilities (deep water coal seaports, intermediary coal terminals and land transportation).

International presence

This year more than 160 exhibitors from 22 countries and regions, including international group pavilions from Australia, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Singapore and the UK, attended Mining Vietnam, which was organised by Singapore Exhibition Services, a member of Allworld Alliance Services.

Vietnam Representative Office deputy chief BT Tee said, “We were pleased to have the continual support of the mining industry. Although the global market for minerals is challenging, our event has held itself against odds and has retained its size and international representation of technology suppliers.

“This is a testament to the confidence in the Vietnamese industry which has seen its share of ups and downs but is buoyed by the need for more power generation boosted by inbound manufacturing investors, which drives the need to increase coal extraction. This benefits the country’s balance of payments as the need for imported coal is reduced.”

Mining Vietnam was supported by Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (VINACOMIN) and industry players.

This year The ASIA Miner, with support from the Australian Trade Commission, again hosted a Regional Technical Conference in conjunction with Mining Vietnam. The ASIA Miner, part of the Mining Media International (MMI) stable, lined up interesting speakers who highlighted some of the innovations and cost-saving technologies for the mining industry.

Regional Technical Conference

The Regional Technical Conference featured three of the hottest words in the mining industry - productivity, efficiency and innovation. Well-known speakers from across South East Asia and Australia shared their valuable experience and knowledge. Topics covered included green technology, dust control, dewatering and process controls.

Speakers included Trade Commissioner, Austrade, Janelle Casey; Asian Mineral Resources (AMR) CEO Evan Spencer; Weir Minerals product specialist rubber Michael Friedrich; Weir Minerals territory manager for Asia Tino Morassut; Outotec South East Asia Technical Solutions manager Sherwin Morgan; TRIO general manager Asia Pacific Tom Wedlock; Port of Newcastle CEO Geoff Rower; and HunterNet’s Wayne Diemar.

In his address regarding the challenges faced by Vietnam’s mining industry, AMR CEO Evan Spencer said the country was well endowed with minerals but essentially undeveloped and unexplored from a modern exploration perspective. The demographics were favourable with political stability and security, a large population and a high capacity workforce while the country was also ideally located on the doorstep of China.

Mining activity was largely state controlled with a few private companies involved, including several from overseas, and limited foreign investment outside of China. There was also a large degree of artisanal and illegal mining while mining licence conditions were restrictive, not aided by a constantly evolving regulatory framework.

He says it is important for development of the industry to create a proactive and supportive business environment with long lead mining projects requiring investment certainty. There is a need for increased fiscal stability as royalty rates continue to increase as do export tariffs while an improved regulatory system is also needed as the complex framework lacks consistency in interpretation and the auction system is a barrier to entry.

While some progress is being made, there will be continued uncertainty for some time. “Vietnam is strategically positioned to have a highly competitive modern mining industry and also has the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others. Foreign investment and involvement is essential to grow the industry and should not be feared. The drivers for SOE, domestic and foreign ownership are the same.

“For engineering and support industries the future is linked to that of the industry itself with the main drivers being productivity and efficiency.”

He added that there were examples of success within Vietnam, such as AMR’s Ban Phuc project, and these examples were evidence of the success that could be achieved

 

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