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Gov't earmarks $19.4m for bauxite, laterite exploration

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HA NOI — An investment of VND408 billion (US$19.4 million) is budgeted for the investigation into bauxite and laterite deposits in Central Highland, central and southern Viet Nam, the Department of Geology and Minerals said.

The extensive study from October 2011 to September 2015 will cover a total area of 14,000 square kilometres in nine provinces to evaluate the minerals' potential.

The seven areas lie in the nine provinces of Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Binh Dinh, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Binh Phuoc, Binh Thuan, Lam Dong and Dong Nai.

So far, only 2,500sq km has been surveyed in the area.

Dao Thanh Binh, head of the department's southern branch, said the survey findings, including the deposit zones and quality, would be helpful in establishing feasible mining projects.

He insisted that the two minerals, bauxite and laterite, were important minerals in domestic heavy industry.

Bauxite and laterite in southern Viet Nam would be used in alumina production.

The survey project would target research of the minerals' components and their manufacturing processes in order to get the highest quality product.

Binh said bauxite reserves in the Central Highlands were up to 11 billion tonnes and promised great profit. However, he expressed worry over environmental issues when bauxite mining began.

In general, the survey results would create a general view on bauxite resources all over the country as well as provide a reliable scientific database for exploitation, Binh said. — VNS

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