State-owned mining firm Vinacomin has asked the government to upgrade several highways to facilitate the future export of alumina from the Central Highlands, a local news website reported Friday.
The company said it doesn't have enough capital to do the job, according to VietNamNet.
According to Vinacomin, alumina produced from its bauxite projects in the region will have to be transported by road to a seaport in the southern province of Dong Nai, a long time-consuming journey due to poor roads and transport infrastructure.
In order to cut the time by one third, the company proposed alumina eventually be transported from the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong directly to Ke Ga Port in Binh Thuan Province, whose first-phase construction will be finished in 2015.
But in the meantime it will be necessary to upgrade and widen key national highways to facilitate the transport of alumina to Dong Nai starting at the end of 2012, the mining group said.
Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said Vinacomin and the Ministry of Transport should consider all options carefully to ensure the best transport plan for the projects.
The two bauxite facilities in the Central Highlands need to be implemented effectively to boost economic growth for the region, Hai said during his visit to the construction sites this week.
The Tan Rai and Nhan Co projects have been criticized for polluting the environment and allowing foreign companies to house large amounts of illegal workers in areas of the country considered vital to national security interests.
Eighty five percent of the construction at Vietnam's first aluminum plant in Lam Dong Province, Tan Rai, has been completed. The plant is expected to start production this year. Construction at the second plant, Nhan Co, in Dak Nong Province started last month.
Duong Van Hoa, general director of Vinacomin, said the company will not build any new bauxite projects in the Central Highlands through 2020.
Vietnam has 5.4 billion tons of bauxite reserves, the world's largest after Guinea and Australia, according to a US Geological Survey report published last year.