Vietnam and coal

From Global Energy Monitor

Vietnam is a major coal producer for both domestic power plants and as a significant exporter to countries in the Asia Pacific region.[1] In 2019, Vietnam produced 46.4 million tonnes.

Vietnam currently has the third-largest coal power plant development program in the world, after China and India.[2]

Coal Resources

Resource Details

Category Reserve Classification Quantity Units Data Year
BGR Estimate Reserves 3,360[3] million tonnes 2019
BGR Estimate Resources 203,395[3] million tonnes 2019
Geological Survey Reserves - million tonnes
Geological Survey Resources 350,000[4] million tonnes 2014
Commercial Reporting Reserves million tonnes
Commercial Reporting Resources million tonnes

Coal Production

In Vietnam all coal is owned by the government. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported that in 2005 a state-owned holding company called Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) was established through the merger of Vietnam National Coal Corp. (Vinacoal), which operates all the state-owned coal mining and coal processing companies and the Vietnam National Minerals Corp. (VIMICO), which controls all stated-owned nonferrous minerals mining and processing companies. The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) administers mining activities via the Department of Geology and Minerals of Vietnam.[1]

The USGS notes that Vietnam’s coal production was estimated to have been 43,715 million tonnes in 2009, up from 39,777 million tonnes the previous year. Vinacomin was listed as having 42 million tonnes production capacity.[5]

Employment in the coal mining sector

The USGS reports that Vietnamese government statistics indicate that coal mining accounted for approximately 31% or 77,486 of the 249,321 people employed in the mining and quarrying sector.[1]

The USGS also reports that "Vietnam’s coal exports had increased five-fold since 2004 and reached a record 32.5 Mt in 2007, which excluded an estimated 10 Mt/yr of illegal coal exports. To conserve coal resources for the growing domestic coal demand for power generation, the Ministry of Industry and Trade planned to cut coal exports by 5 Mt in 2008. VINACOMIN, which, as Vietnam’s top coal producer, accounted for 95% of the national coal production, would need to reduce its coal exports by 11% to 19.5 Mt in 2008 to save more coal for domestic consumption by the cement and powerplants. Between 15 and 20 Mt of coal was provided to the domestic market and the remaining coal output was exported to China. Coal reserves, mainly located in Quang Ninh Province, were estimated to be 10.5 billion metric tons, according to VINACOMIN. The company also was investing in the Red River Delta, where exploitable coal reserves could be produced at an annual rate of between 9 and 10 Mt/yr for an unspecified period."[1]

Proposed coal mines

Red River

In May 2009 Vinacom announced that it planned to develop the Red River Delta Coal Basin, which the USGS reports as being the "country’s largest coal deposit" covering "an area of 3,500 square kilometers" in the provinces of Hai Duong, Hai Phong, Hung Yen, Nam Dinh, and Thai Binh.[5] Reuters reported that a government report stated that the basin contained 210 billion tonnes of coal. Vinacom stated that projects in the basin would be developed through "through cooperation and joint ventures with foreign partners". Reuters quoted a state media report which stated that "the project will create the country's biggest clean energy centre, helping ensure national energy security by 2025," it said. The report stated that Vinacomin planned to invest S$5.97 billion to develop 11 projects in the basin.[6]

In 2012 it was reported that the Vietnam government would implement the Red River project from 2012 to 2015. The project aims to determine the "real" reserves of the Red River coal basin. The project will cover over 2,765 in the six provinces of Thai Binh (1,521, Hai Duong (435, Hung Yen (398, Nam Dinh (272, Hai Phong (106 and Ha Nam (33 The coal beds will be divided into coal mines whose reserves are projected to be continuously mined for 50-100 years, with each coal mine having an annual output of 3 - 10 million tons.[7]

Quang Ninh vertical mine

On January 17, 2010, Cavico Corporation - a major infrastructure construction, infrastructure investment, and natural resources conglomerate based in Vietnam - announced that its subsidiary, Cavico Bridge and Tunnel, had signed a construction contract to excavate a transport tunnel for Ha Long Coal, a Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) subsidiary, at its Bac Coc Sau coal mine project in Quang Ninh Province. The cost-adjustable contract is valued at approximately US$2 million.[8]

On May 19, 2011, Cavico Corp. announced that Prime Minster Nguyen Tan Dung had approved its proposal to construct a vertical coal mine shaft in Vietnam. Vinacomin will select a site in Vietnam for Cavico to begin the midsize vertical mine shaft. Cavico will be the first domestic construction contractor to construct a vertical coal mine shaft in Vietnam, reportedly in line with the Vietnamese government's long-term strategy to shift from open pit coal mining to vertical shafts. In Quang Ninh Province, a vertical mine shaft in the region that is 1,000 feet deep and 21 feet wide is under construction by a foreign contractor, at a total investment of $40 million. The mine is expected to produce more than one million tons of coal annually.[9]

Coal Consumption

Coal-fired Power Stations

Reduced growth in coal-fired generating capacity forecast in 2011 Power Master Plan VII

In 2011, the Vietnamese government released Power Master Plan VII for the period through 2030. Under the plan, additional capacity development for the 2016-2025 period was set at 61,283 MW, a major reduction from the goal of 121,524 MW in the previous plan, Power Master Plan VI. By placing greater emphasis on efficiency, the new plan placed requires less capital investment and reduces the problem of coal supplies.[10]

Despite the reduced forecast, the new master plan targeted 36,000 MW in coal-fired power (156 billion kWh) in 2020 and 75,000 MW (394 billion kWh) in 2030.[10]

Proposed coal fired power stations

  • On December 8, 2011, energy investment company PHI Group announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Sao Nam Group, a Vietnamese company engaged in energy, mining, real estate, and infrastructure, to build a 2,400 to 3,600 MW coal-fired power plant in Hai Khe Commune, Hai Lang District, Southeast Quang Tri Economic Zone, Vietnam.[11]
  • On June 9, 2011, Eco-Business reported the Vietnamese government planned to spend US$83 billion to build 90 power plants with a combined capacity of 106,000 MW by 2025, by which time the country’s coal demand is expected to surpass 100 million tonnes.[12]
  • In June 2011, Hanoi-based PetroVietnam Technical Services Corporation (PTSC), a subsidiary of energy provider PetroVietnam Group, announced plans to build a "high efficiency" 1,200 megawatt (MW) Long Phu 1 Thermal Power Plant in the Long Phu District. The Long Phu 1 Thermal Power Plant will be the first of three facilities located at the planned 4,400MW Long Phu Power Centre. The plant’s two units are planned to use supercritical boiler technology and scrubbers. The plant is slated to be completed by 2014, at a cost between US$1.2 and US$1.4 billion. Global engineering firm Black & Veatch won a contract to design and manage construction of the facility.[13]
  • Other coal power plants that PetroVietnam subsidiary Petrovietnam Power Corporation are or have invested in are:[15]
  • In April 2011 it was also reported that Vietnamese state group, Vinacomin will receive a syndicated loan worth $275 million from French bank BNP Paribas and No.3 Chinese lender Bank of China for a thermal-power plant.[14]
  • In September 2010, the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, approved a plan by a consortium led by China Southern Power Grid Corp. to build a coal-fired power plant in southern Vietnam's Binh Thuan province. The plant will have two generators, each with an annual power generating capacity of 600,000 kilowatts. The first generator is expected to come online in 2014. The $1.75 billion project will be China's largest investment in Vietnam and Chinese banks will provide funding.[17]
  • the Vinh Tan power station. The USGS reports that "in 2007, the Vietnamese Government authorized China Southern Grid (a Chinese electricity company) to conduct a feasibility study for a proposed 1,200-megawatt (MW) thermoelectric plant in Binh Thuan Province. Construction of the $1 billion coal-fired powerplant was expected to begin by the end of 2007."[1]

Existing coal-fired power stations financed by international public investment institutions

Coal-fired power stations financed by international public investment institutions include:[20]

Power Development Plan VIII

In November 2020 it was reported that the PDP VII would cancel proposed coal plants that were not already under construction.[21]

Coal Exports

Vietnam plans to reduce its coal exports in 2012 by 18.2 percent from this year's projected shipments to 13.5 million tonnes. Vietnam is a net coal exporter but it is expected to turn into an importer by 2015, when a series of thermal power plants start operation. As of December 2011 the country had already began reducing exports to save supplies for domestic consumption.[22]

The main Vietnamese coal export facility is at Cam Pha Port.

Coal Imports

Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) reported in January 2012 that Vietnam would import 10 million tonnes of coal per year by 2015, and approximately 60 million tonnes by 2020. To receive the coal, Vinacomin reported that the country will need to build a transshipment port, which will require a total investment of $1 billion.[23]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 John C. Wu, "The Mineral Industry of Vietnam", U.S. Geological Survey, June 2009.
  2. Christine Shearer, Neha Mathew-Shah, Lauri Myllyvirta, Aiqun Yu, and Ted Nace Boom and Bust 2018 TRACKING THE GLOBAL COAL PLANT PIPELINE, COALSWARM / SIERRA CLUB / GREENPEACE, March 2018
  3. 3.0 3.1 BGR Energy Study 2019 - Data and Developments in German and Global Energy Supplies (23), Hannover: Germany, 2019.
  4. Nguyen Ngoc Khoi, Mineral Resources Potential of Vietnam and Current State of Mining Activity, February 10, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 Yolanda Fong-Sam, "The Mineral Industry of Vietnam", U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior, June 2011, page 9.
  6. "Vietnam plans biggest coal mining project",, May 21, 2009. (This a a Reuters story).
  7. "Vietnam to evaluate real reserves of 210-billion-ton coal basin," Vietnam Net, March 24, 2012.
  8. "Tunnel contract for Cavico at Vietnam coal mine" International Mining, January 17, 2011.
  9. "Cavico Announces Participation in Vertical Coal Mine Shaft Project" Globe News Wire, May 19, 2011.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Dao Nguyen and Kevin B. HAwkins, "Vietnam: Vietnam Power Development Plan for the 2011-2020 Period," Mondaq, September 7, 2011
  11. "PHI Group Partners With Sao Nam Group to Build 2,400 MW Power Plant in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam" Marketwire, Dec. 8, 2011.
  12. Jenny Marusiak , "Vietnam investing heavily in high-tech coal plants" Eco-Business, June 9, 2011.
  13. Jenny Marusiak , "Vietnam investing heavily in high-tech coal plants" Eco-Business, June 9, 2011.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Five foreign banks lend Petrovietnam $904 mln" Reuters, April 22, 2011.
  15. "Projects that have been and are being Invested" Petrovietnam Power Corporation.
  16. "3tr dong for constructing Quang Trach Power Centre", Vietnam News, September 16th, 2010.
  17. Jin Yang, "China Southern Grid To Build Coal Power Plant In Vietnam -NDRC" Nasdaq, September 3, 2010.
  18. 18.0 18.1 "New thermal power plant built in Tra Vinh", VOVNews, September 9, 2010.
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Power plant project signs on consultant", January 8, 2009.
  20. "Coal Fired Plants Financed by International Public Investment Institutions since 1994", Appendix A in Foreclosing the Future: Coal, Climate and International Public Finance: Investment in coal-fired power plants hinders the fight against global warming, Environmental Defense, April 2009.
  21. Quy hoạch vùng ĐBSCL: Thay thế tất cả nhà máy điện than chưa xây dựng bằng nhà máy LNG và năng lượng tái tạo,, November 26, 2020.
  22. "UPDATE 2-Vietnam's 2012 coal exports to fall, imports eyed" Ho Binh Minh, Reuters, December 1, 2011.
  23. "Vietnam to import 10 mln tonnes of coal by 2015" Tuoi Tre, Vietnam Investment Review, January 11, 2012.

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