PM Dung said Vietnam boasts huge bauxite potential with an estimated reserve of 5.4bnt mainly in the Central Highlands.

He emphasised the need to develop the bauxite exploitation and aluminium hydroxide, alumina and aluminium production industry, describing it as important for domestic consumption and export.

He stated that under an approved plan for the 2007-2015 period, Vietnam will build a number of alumina plants with a combined output of 6.4Mt/y. Capacity will be increased in the following years, with their products to be exported in the first phase.

PM Dung said that the project will create direct and indirect jobs for over 10 000 workers, form a foundation for the development of the nation’s alumina and supporting industries, increase the province’s GDP and bring a large volume of foreign currency to the country.

The Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) is the main investor for the Nhan Co project.

Vinacomin general director Tran Xuan Hoa said this was the second alumina project ithe group had invested in, after the first in the neighbouring province of Lam Dong, with a designed capacity of 650kt/y. This project, which is scheduled to begin operations by the end of 2012, will use Bayer technology to produce alumina. Vinacomin also wants to build an alumina electrolysis plant with a capacity of 150kt-200kt/y.