Vietnam's largest mining company wants to begin mining vast coal deposits in the Red River delta, one of the country's most populated agricultural areas.
The Song Hong Energy Company, an affiliate of state-owned mining conglomerate Vinacomin, has applied for permission to launch a pilot mining project in Hung Yen province, some 30 km southeast of Hanoi. "We are just waiting for the permission of the prime minister," Nguyen Thanh Son, a director, told DPA.
The $6.5 million pilot project would mine 1,800 t of coal over a six-month period and, to minimise the environmental impact, would use a technology that gasifies the coal underground.
Although it is not yet clear whether foreign partners will participate in the pilot project. Son said Japan's Marubeni Corporation and Australia's Linc Energy had expressed interest.
Geologists estimate coal deposits in Vietnam's Red River delta at 210 Bt, of which 65 Bt could be exploited. The delta produces roughly 20% of Vietnam's rice.