The study from October 2011 to September 2015 will cover a total area of 14,000km2 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.

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 bauxite and laterite, were important minerals in the domestic heavy industry. 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 11bnt and promised great profit. However, he expressed worry over environmental issues when bauxite mining begins.