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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        16  June  2011

Vietnam imports first Indonesian coal

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The Vinacomin Group has announced the arrival of the country's first-ever imported batch of coal for domestic use.

Vinacomin said the shipment of 9,570 tonnes of coal imported from Indonesia had arrived at the Cat Lai seaport in the southern province of Dong Nai. The imported coal will be used as fuel for power generation facilities in the central and southern regions.

Vinacomin general director Tran Xuan Hoa said though the country had large coal deposits and had been a coal exporter for decades, the imports were necessary and profitable as the price of imported coal for power generators was cheaper than that of domestic coal.

Hoa said the price of domestic coal, also called high-energy anthracite and mainly used in chemicals and metallurgy, was higher than that of imported low-energy bituminous coal used in power generators.

"We should sell high-quality coal and import cheaper types," Hoa said. "Power plants have been advised not to use anthracite to make power, because this is high-quality coal which should be used in metallurgy and chemicals industries."

In addition, the coal imports were also necessary to meet rising domestic demand, especially for coal-fired power plants, Hoa said.

As the country's electricity demand grows rapidly, Vinacomin estimated that the country would lack roughly 10.8-11 million tonnes of coal each year for power generators during the next few years.

Vinacomin has planned to import 10 million tonnes of coal each year in 2011 and 2012, mostly low-energy bituminous coal used in power generation. The figure was estimated to reach 100 million tonnes by 2020 to meet the urgent demand for power generation and other industries such as steel and cement making.

Vinacomin said in addition to Indonesia, it was also considering importing coal from Australia. The country's coal output in May alone reached 3.98 million tonnes, up 7.5 per cent over the same period last year, lifting the total in the first five months to 19.2 million tonnes, up 5.5 per cent against the same period last year.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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