Despite its large reserves, Vietnam has to import a huge volume of coal in the 2016-2020 period, which began in 2017 and will see a sharp increase from 2020 to supply thermal power plants, according to a plan from the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Corporation (Vinacomin).
Last year’s import volume reached more than 11.7 million tons in 2017 and will rise to 21m tons in 2018, 40.3m tons in 2020, 70.3m tons in 2025, and 100m tons in 2030.
According to a government plan adopted in early 2016, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Vinacomin proposed the purchase of around 3 million tons for thermal power plants, but the figure had seen a fourfold increase to 13.3 million tons by the end of 2016.
Import price averaged at US$105 per ton last year, a year-on-year rise of 44.2%. Indonesia, Australia, and Russia were the three biggest coal suppliers of Vietnam, making up 83% of the country’s total imports with 12 million tons last year.
Previously, Vietnam had long maintained a place as one of the leading exporters of coal with exports sometimes reaching 50% of the country’s total output. However, the country is suffering a shortage of high quality coal while the current inventory is in excess of 9 million tons.
Experts forecast that domestic coal production’s failure to meet the demands of thermal power plants and household consumption coupled with difficulties in coal exploitation will lead to a further increase in imports over the future.