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|Vietnamese industrial and power production is becoming increasingly reliant on coal imports|
In September, Vietnam imported over one million tonnes of coal, increasing the total imported coal volume in the nine months to 10.4 million tonnes. Meanwhile, the exported turnover of coal reached $207 million.
Major importers include Indonesia, Australia, Russia, China, and Malaysia. The first three are the largest importers with a total imported coal volume of 8.7 million, equaling 84 per cent of the total imported coal volume.
Notably, Vietnam imported more than four million tonnes of coal, equaling 38.5 per cent of the total, from Indonesia, 2.84 million tonnes worth $340 million from Australia, and 1.84 million tonnes worth $178 million from Russia.
In general, in the nine months of this year, Vietnam saw an increase of 0.1 per cent in terms of imported coal volume, but an increase of 53 per cent in terms of the import turnover due to the soaring selling price of coal. Notably, the cost of imported coal from Australia increased to $103.5 per tonne, reaching a record within the nine months due to increasing demand in Asia.
The consecutive growth in imported coal volume has turned Vietnam from a leading global exporter into a coal importer.
Accordingly, in 2013, Vietnam imported 2.27 million tonnes of coal worth $264 million, increasing to 13.3 million tonnes worth $927 million in 2016, signifying an increase of 92.4 per cent in terms of quantity and 69.4 per cent in terms of turnover.
According to Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Anh Tuan, the imported coal volume will continue to increase in upcoming years. The increasing demand for coal to serve the power and industrial sectors is one of the major causes behind the soaring imports.
According to Ngo Son Hai, EVN deputy general director, in 2016, EVN started to import coal for electricity production and Duyen Hai 3 thermal power plant is the group's first using imported coal.
In 2017 EVN plans to import 4.7 million tonnes of coal and the figure is expected to increase to 11 million tonnes by 2020 and 19 million tonnes by 2025.
According to Vietnam’s Power Development Plan VII, the country will import 50 million tonnes of coal by 2020, which will increase to 80 million tonnes by 2030. Numerous thermal power plants currently under construction, including Vung Ang and Vinh Tan, will have to use imported coal for electricity production because domestic coal is not suitable.
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