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Friday, June 21, 2024

Vietnam’s largest rare earth mine set to begin operations

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Dong Pao rare earth mine in Lai Chau Province, covering over 132 hectares of land, is expected to become operational soon, after 10 years of suspension since it was licensed.

According to Luu Tuan Anh, director of Vietnam Rare Earth JSC (VTRE), the company is coordinating with a partner to work out a plan for putting up an auction for Dong Pao mine’s exploitation and use rare earth ores for production in the near future.

VTRE plans to exploit, manage, and operate the mine in accordance with international standards and the European Environmental Certification. This will help ensure compliance with global firms’ requirements on the environment, labor, and products.

Tuan said that till now works of many categories have been ready for execution such as testing rare earth on a small-scale chain, designing a factory, and training experts for a factory separating ores into rare earth.

In December 2014, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment permitted Lai Chau Rare Earth JSC under Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) to work with a Japanese partner to exploit Dong Pao mine. However, its exploitation has faced multiple challenges on technology and legal framework over the past years.

According to a recently approved plan on minerals from 2021 to 2030, Vietnam’s total rare earth output is expected to reach two million tons of ores per year, with a focus on exploiting Dong Pao mine in Lai Chau Province and Yen Phu mine in Yen Bai Province.

Rare earths include 17 elements, the majority of which play an irreplaceable role in manufacturing hi-tech devices, batteries, permanent magnets in electrical vehicles, wind turbines, airplanes, cell phones, and the defense industry.

According to a report released by the United States Geological Survey in 2022, China has the most substantial rare earth reserves with 44 million tons. Vietnam and Brazil rank second and third with 22 million tons and 21 million tons, respectively.

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