Vietnam Electricity’s proposal to trim coal purchase could leave 4,000 jobless

An estimated 4,000 coal workers may lose their jobs should state-owned power giant Vietnam Electricity (EVN) goes through with its plan to cut coal purchase by two million metric tons this year.

The mass job cuts will be experienced by state-run Vietnam National Coal – Mineral Industries Holdings Corporation Limited (Vinacomin), a long-time coal supplier to EVN’s thermal power plants.

The threats of such a purchase curb was brought up by Vinacomin’s vice general director Vu Anh Tuan at Thursday’s working session of the People’s Council of northern Quang Ninh Province, where most of the corporation’s coal mines are based.

According to Tuan, EVN was already requesting government permission to move forward with the plan, which looked to narrow its coal purchase down to 17.92 million metric tons, a two-million-ton drop from its previous plan.

“If the cut is approved, it would deal a blow to Vinacomin, as we still have around 10.53 million metric tons of coal left in our reserves,” Tuan said. “The corporation would be expected to lay off 4,000 workers to make up for the financial losses. We are requesting intervention from the prime minister and relevant ministries, but it won’t be an easy problem to solve.”

Tuan added that Vinacomin was paying more attention to limiting the environmental impacts of its coal mining activities by planting trees on its coal refuse piles.

Over 900 hectares of refuse piles have been restored to livable conditions with the help of the method, Tuan said.

The corporation is also looking to launch a system of conveyor belts to transport coal from mines directly to factories as early as this November, which is expected to put an end to air pollution caused by coal trucks.

Vinacomin will close down its pollution-causing Nam Cau Trang coal preparation plant in Quang Ninh’s Ha Long City by the end of 2018.

The plant will be relocated from downtown areas to the city’s Ha Khanh Ward to avoid disturbing tourist activities in the city.

This will be the second time the plant will have been relocated away from Ha Long City’s center, with the first being done in 1997.

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