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Vietnam at risk of power shortage as coal mining halted by floods

Saturday, August 01, 2015, 14:51 GMT+7
Vietnam at risk of power shortage as coal mining halted by floods
Workers are cleaning up the field for coal exploitation at Mong Duong Mine in Cam Pha City, Quang Ninh Province on July 31

Vietnam is at risk of a electricity shortage as thermal power plants countrywide have no supply of coal left, after productions at coal mines in the northern Quang Ninh Province were halted several days ago due to heavy rainfalls and floods.

Those thermoelectricity power plants said they only have enough coal for production in the next four to 20 days, and all depend on the main source of supply from Quang Ninh, which has the biggest reserves of coal in Vietnam.

However, all the mines there stopped exploiting coal several days ago because they have been inundated in deep floodwaters caused by heavy rains that have ravaged the locality in recent days.

According to Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), in charge of producing and supplying the power across Vietnam, the Vinh Tan 2 thermal power plant is only able to generate electricity in four days and a half with the current coal in stock.

The facility in Quang Ninh, meanwhile, has enough coal to run in seven days.

The Uong Bi facility, also located in Quang Ninh, has the biggest reserves, but only enough to maintain operations for 20 more days.

Other thermoelectricity plants in the central and southern regions are in the same situation when they are cut from the only source of coal supply by the Vietnam National Coal – Mineral Industries Corporation (TKV).

EVN has recently called upon people to consume power economically to reduce pressure on electricity supply.

Coal mines suffer great damages

Le Minh Chuan, chairman of the board of directors of the state-owned TKV, said there are now six million metric tons of coal in reserves but the company is unable to deliver them to power plants due to the flooded roads.

He added that some coal mines can resume working in three days if the weather becomes fine in the coming days, while others can only restart exploiting coal in three months.

A report by TKV showed that coal mines in Quang Ninh incur a total loss of at least VND1 trillion (US$46 million), while 800,000 coal workers had to stop working, due to the heavy rains in recent days, the heaviest damage ever for TKV caused by natural disaster.

Machines and infrastructure for coal exploitation have been under floodwaters at the average depth of one meter.

Yesterday at the Mong Duong Coal Company under TKV in Quang Ninh’s Cam Pha City, work to repair mines began when hundreds of machines, equipment, and bulldozers were still under floodwaters.

Ngo Van Duc and his team were the first to enter coal mines at the depth of nearly 100m under surface to recover production field.

“The underground field is 0.7m to 1.2m under floodwaters.

“We also discover poisonous gas formed at the deep mines.

“Our job today under the depth is to build a dyke to direct the recessing way of flood water and pump to suck out water,” Duc said.

Nguyen Van Tuat, vice office manager of Mong Duong Company, told Tuoi Tre that it is estimated that all mines of his company are sunken under 36,000 cubic meters of floodwaters.

“The flood was terrible, causing great damages to our company.

“All areas of coal exploitation of my company are inundated.

“It is planned that my company can resume working in three months,” said Tuat.

According to weather forecast, heavy rains and floods may occur on a large scale in the northern region until August 3 and the affected area may extend downwards to the central Thua Thien Hue Province.

The rainfall is forecast to reach 100-400mm.

Tuoi Tre

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