Mining industry and national economic development in new century

Ha Noi, Dec, 9 (VNA) -- The mining industry plays an important role in the national economic development, especially in the early stage of national industrialization as it fuels other processing and energy industries as well as exports.

Lying in the Southeast Asian region, Viet Nam has abundant and diverse mineral resources, including oil and gas, coal, apatite, iron, tin, and mineral water.

Since 1955, Vietnamese geologists have conducted explorations and discovered more than 5,000 mine sites and mines for the construction materials, pottery, porcelain and glass industries. They have completed geological maps of the nation's whole land area with 41 percent being mapped at 1/50,000. Meanwhile, surveys of oil and gas, tin, gold and titanium ore fields on the continental shelf and offshore have been conducted.

According to initial statistics, Viet Nam has 1,188 sites of 980 mines under legal exploitation. These include 433 quarries of stone for construction, or 44.18 percent, 88 of clay, 81 of sand and cobble, 52 of anthracite and 50 mineral water sites.

Although the mining industry has only recently received development investment, it has recorded an annual increase of 16 percent in output during the past five years. The oil and gas industry made up the highest proportion and its rate of output growth was 12.05 percent in 1995, rising to 81.45 percent three years later. Last year, the industry tapped 15.2 million tonnes of crude oil and brought ashore 1,439 cu.m. of gas. It plans to pump about 17 million tonnes of crude oil this year.

The mining industry has helped to increase industrial GDP from 22.7 percent to 34.5 percent. Besides, it also contributed to social programmes including job creation, hunger eradication and poverty alleviation in remote and isolated areas. The number of labourers in the mining industry represents 5.75 percent of the total industrial labourers and 0.55 percent of the total nationwide.

In the next 10 years of national industrial development, Viet Nam will focus on developing industries relating to mineral resources such as electricity, metallurgy, chemicals, fertilizer and construction materials. At present, the mining industry still faces shortcomings in technology, production scale, labour efficiency, research, management and investment. Thus at first, the country will carry out measures to complete legal documents and administrative procedures to attract more domestic and foreign investment, to accelerate the equitization process and to modernize technology.--VNA