Coal expansions in Vietnam

The Vietnamese Government estimates its national coal reserves total some 3,500 Mt, the majority of which is anthracite in Quang Ninh Province in the north of the country.

According to Le Son, Commercial Specialist with the US Commercial Service in Ho Chi Minh City, coal production has increased dramatically over the last few years, and reached 27.33 Mt in 2004. 2005 is expected to see a steep increase in production by 20% in comparison to the previous year. Vietnam is expected to produce nearly 47.6 Mt of coal in 2010. Vietnam is currently the largest anthracite coal exporter in the world, accounting for 13% of the world market.

Although Vietnam has historically relied on hydropower for electricity, it has recently promoted the construction of coal-fired power plants. At present, coal fired power plants accounts for around 13-15% of national output, and this share is forecast to rise to 25% by 2010 according to Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), the state owned utility.

The state coal producer, Vinacoal, plans to build eight coal-fired thermal power plants with a total capacity of 2,900 MW by 2010. By the year 2010, total coal-fired generation capacity is expected to grow more than two-fold to more than 4,100 MW. Over 16 Mt/y is expected to be burned by coal power stations by 2020. According to Vinacoal, the government has recently given in-principle approval for Vinacoal to begin planning coal supplies for the Mong Duong coal fired power complex in northern Vietnam.

The Mong Duong thermal power complex, Mong Duong 1 and Mong Duong 2, will have a combined capacity of 2,000 MW of electricity annually. EVN is developing the $1-billion, 1,000 MW Mong Duong 1, with finance from the Asian Development Bank. In 2005, AES and Vinacoal unveiled a plan to jointly build the $1 billion Mong Duong 2 coal fired power plant in Quang Ninh province. This project is now in the study phase. The complex is scheduled to start operating in 2009 and all development work will be completed by 2015. The complex is estimated to need about 6 Mt/y of coal.