The Department of Geology and Minerals of Vietnam has announced a VND408 billion (US$19.8 million) project to study bauxite and laterite deposits in the country.
The comprehensive study, conducted between October 2011 through September 2015, will cover a total area of 14,000 square kilometers in seven provinces from the central region down to the south, news website VnExpress reported Sunday.
Findings from the study, including distribution of the deposits and their quality, will help determine the feasibility of future mining projects, the report said, citing a government statement.
The seven provinces are Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Binh Dinh, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Binh Phuoc, Binh Thuan, Lam Dong and Dong Nai.
Laterite, a mixture of clayey iron and aluminum oxides and hydroxides, is used in iron and steel industries.
Bauxite is used to make alumina, which is the key component of aluminium.
Vietnam's bauxite reserves may total 11 billion tons, enough to supply for its alumina industry in the long term, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said at a National Assemby meeting in November last year. He said the reserves are located mainly in the Central Highlands.
Two bauxite mining and processing complexes are being built at present, one in Lam Dong and the other in Dak Nong province. The former is expected to start commercial production in the third quarter this year.