Vietnam exported 32.5mil tonnes of coal last year, reaping $1.018bil. However, if it imports coal to run thermopower plants now, the said amount of money is just enough to buy back 7.5mil tonnes. Since 2004, the volume of coal Vietnam has exported has increased by five-fold, reaching $32.535mil tonnes last year. This does not include the illegal export of 10mil tonnes a year. The Ministry of Planning and Investment in 2006 warned that if Vietnam did not take any measures to limit exports, the very important natural resource would become exhausted, while Vietnam needs to ensure energy safety for the national economy. Despite the warnings, coal exports in 2007 were very high, representing the increase of another 11% over the previous year. Bui Xuan Khu, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, said that the ministry plans to cut exports by 5mil tonnes compared to last year in order to meet the increased demand in the domestic market. However, the said volume proves to be not enough. Leaders of the Vietnam Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) also think that Vietnam should export 5mil tonnes a year only in order to get prepared to meet the national economy’s demand, which is…
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