Prospects for coal and clean coal technologies in Vietnam, CCC/164

Author(s): Paul Baruya

Ref: CCC/164
ISBN: 978-92-9029-484-9
Published Date: 01/02/2010
No. of Tables: 10
No. of Figures: 33
No. of Pages: 73

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Today, Vietnam’s energy economy is largely served by traditional biofuels and oil products. Within the power generating sector, hydropower and gas-fired power dominate. However, Vietnam still maintains a 40 Mt/y coal industry, parts of which have recently undergone a long overdue programme of renovation and expansion. Vietnam has been a successful exporter of anthracite, with more than half of the country’s production being shipped or barged to steel mills in Japan or power stations in southern China, as well as most other Far Eastern coal importers. In coming years, the industry is due to take a different form. In recent years, opencast mining accounted for around 60% of production, but these mining methods could be phased out as reserves become more difficult and costly to extract. Consequently, a shift to underground mining is expected, with a greater emphasis on more modern and mechanised production techniques.

Coal is located mainly in the coalfields in Quang Ninh in the north easternmost province of Vietnam. Some lower rank reserves located within the Red River coalfields, close to the existing anthracite operations, may yield many more millions of tonnes of coal for exploitation. There is even the possibility that underground coal gasification could be exploited in the deeper reserves of the Red River Basin, further emphasising the importance of this coalfield to the future of the country’s coal industry.

While coal production could rapidly change in future years, the power generation sector is also transforming with the country’s 12,000 MWe development programme for new coal-fired power capacity. The economy suffers from a threat of power shortages due to a lack of generating and transmission capacity, while inefficiencies blight both energy production and end-users. Delivering power to the regions of growth remains difficult as the economy and the demand for power outpaces power generation. While hydroelectric power is being pursued, coal is therefore becoming a growing factor in the future prosperity of the Vietnamese economy.

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