Industry Ministry plans to open Thach Khe ore mine with $0.31 billion
The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s (MOIT) plan to spend VND7 trillion to resume exploitation at Thach Khe ore mine has faced opposition from scientists.
Truong Thanh Hoai, director of the MOIT’s Heavy Industry Department, said Thach Khe, with the reserves of 544 million and the value of $35 billion, has great potentials, but still has not been exploited.
Hoai said MOIT is still looking for solutions to exploit Thach Khe. It is estimated that VND7 trillion would be needed to resume the mining there.
Meanwhile, scientists don’t think Vietnam should continue the exploitation at Thach Khe.
Bui Van Muu, a former lecturer at the Hanoi University of Technology, affirmed that in current technical conditions, it would be unreasonable to pour VND7 trillion into Thach Khe.
According to Muu, Thach Khe, situated deep below sea water level, is difficult and costly to be exploited. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s state budget is short.
“It would be better not to think of exploiting Thach Khe now. The exploitation requires high technology and hefty amount of capital, and we don’t have much money,” he said.
“Even if we have money, we need to think about the technology. Our technique is not good enough to undertake such works, and we will have to hire foreign specialists,” he added.
The expert also pointed out that MOIT should think about economic efficiency in exploiting Thach Khe’s ore.
With the high technology required, the steel products will have high production costs, and therefore, will be uncompetitive in the world market which has been witnessing heavy fluctuations.
Nguyen Thi Chieu, a university lecturer, said the Vietnam Steel Association has repeatedly given warnings about the uncertainties of the steel market. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the exploitation plan carefully.
Chieu went on to say that Vietnam, which suffered from the ‘Formosa catastrophe’, needs to become more cautious about iron and steel projects.
“Vietnam should not participate in such risky project,” she said.
“Ha Tinh is a poor province which often suffers floods. It is very difficult to exploit ore at Thach Khe,” she said.
Le Ai Thu, chair of the Geological Association of Vietnam, also said Vietnam should not invest in Thach Khe, at least for the next five to 10 years.
Thu warned that the exploitation would bring low economic efficiency because of technology conditions, while it would cause serious pollution.
“It would be better not to continue investing in Thach Khe,” he said, adding that it will be very costly to get ore from the mine, while steel manufacturers will still have to pay additional fees to carry the ore from Thach Khe to Ninh Thuan or elsewhere to make ingot steel.
Kim Chi, VietNamNet Bridge