Vietnam Steel Corp (Vinasteel) is mapping out a project for submission to the government to mine the Thach Khe iron ore deposit in the central province of Ha Tinh.
The state-run company plans to mine exploit 7.6 million tonnes of iron ore a year, with 69% of it iron. The project is forecast to help meet 90% of Vietnam’s steel billet demand in the coming 80-90 years.
The capital needed for the project is put at US$350 million, and Vinasteel says around US$3 billion will be needed to build a complex to extract metals from the iron ores and cast steel.
Vietnam can go without foreign involvement in the huge project, says a Vinasteel official, adding that capital could come from the state budget and Vietnamese steel manufacturers.
Vietnam’s current technology allows the industry to implement the project, so foreign participation is not necessary, the official says.
A number of foreign companies have expressed interest in the project but none of them have received approval from the Vietnamese government to proceed with their plans.
Vietnam needs 3.5 million tonnes of steel a year, with about 2.5 million tonnes of it imported.
The Vietnam Steel Association believes that the local short supply makes Vietnam more vulnerable to the world steel market, and expects the exploitation of Thach Khe ores to help meet local demand for steel billets, which are mostly.