Vietnam coal production to surge 25 pct by 2015

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Vietnam's state mining group Vinacomin has said it will increase its annual coal output by 25 percent in 2015 from the current 44 million tons.

Vinacomin is asking its subsidiaries to boost production, aiming to raise the output to 55 million tons in 2015 and 80 million tons in 2020, Le Minh Chuan, president of the group, said in an interview published on the government website Friday.

Chuan, who was appointed to the position late last month, said as coal reserves at open-pit mines are declining, the group will have to speed up its underground projects in the next two years.

Vinacomin will continue negotiating with coal exporters in Indonesia and Australia, and prepare to start mining in the Red River Delta when allowed by the authorities, he added. "Such preparations allow us to believe we can supply enough coal to meet growing demand," he said.

Coal deposits in Vietnam's Red River Delta are estimated at 210 billion tons.

Vinacomin expects to export 16.5 million tons of coal this year, out of the total output of 44 million tons, which is unchaged from last year.

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