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Vietnam to Buy 20 Million Tonnes of Coal a Year From Laos

Source: Vientiane Times

Vietnam has signed a deal with Laos to import about 20 million tonnes of coal annually over the next five years, VN Express has reported.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines signed a Memorandum of Understanding to this effect last week, according to the news agency.

Laos has been an important supplier of coal and other minerals to Vietnam in recent years.

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Last year Vietnam bought 1.8 million tonnes of ores and minerals worth US$78.2 million from Laos, and 900,000 tonnes worth US$31.6 million in the first half of this year.

In a move to import more coal, Quang Tri province in central Vietnam is proposing to build a 160-km conveyor belt to carry coal from Laos, the news agency reported in June.

The belt would be capable of transporting 1,500-1,600 tonnes of coal an hour, and would be able to convey 15-20 million tonnes of coal from Laos to Vietnam every year.

Vietnam is seeking more sources of energy, including coal, to meet the needs of its fast-growing economy.

The Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) produced approximately 21.2 million tonnes of coal for power generation in the first half of this year, up 16 percent year-on-year and fulfilling 55 percent of the annual target, according to the Vietnam News.

Laos and Vietnam have many cooperation projects in the energy sector, such as building hydropower plants and connecting grids in which Laos has exported electricity to Vietnam, VN Express reported.

Vietnam has 220 kV transmission lines linking to Laos, and is set to import at least 3,000MW of electricity by 2025 and 5,000MW by 2030.