Development of Vietnams Bauxite Alumina Aluminium Industry

Author(s): T. Quoc-Khanh, T. Minh Huan
International Committee for Study of Bauxite, Alumina & Aluminium Conference (ICSBA), 31 October 2012 at ICSOBA-2012, Belem, Brazil


Vietnam’s bauxite resources in 2007 totaled approximately 5.5Gt of Al2O3. These resources consisted of ~91Mt of diasporic bauxite in the northern regions, and ~5.41Gt of gibbsitic bauxite in the southern region, mainly in the highlands. Since 2007, the quality and quantity of Vietnam’s bauxite resources has increased as a result of improvements in exploration techniques and continued exploration in the Central Highlands region. By 2010, Vietnam’s bauxite resources had increased to 11.4Gt of Al2O3, equivalent to 4.7Gt of Al2O3 if beneficiation is applied to improve bauxite quality. The quantity of resources identified appears to warrant the establishment of critical infrastructure for mine developments.
The Vietnamese government plans to develop an integrated bauxite, alumina, and aluminium industry. In this respect, Vinacomin awarded a contract to Chalieco to engineer and construct the 0.65Mtpa Tan Rai Alumina Refinery in Lam Dong province. Under the original agreement, the Tan Rai Alumina Refinery was to be finished in October 2010; however, at this point in time commissioning has not yet started. A second alumina refinery in Dak Nong province, the 0.65Mtpa Nhan Co Alumina Refinery, is also under construction by Chalieco and is expected to be commissioned in December 2012. Alumina produced from these two refineries will be exported. These two refineries face significant infrastructure costs. A number of other bauxite and alumina projects in Vietnam are currently in the study stage.

To ensure these bauxite resources are developed in a sustainable manner, the government is re-planning the Bauxite-Alumina-Aluminium Roadmap taking into account geographical positions, infrastructure requirements, environmental impacts, accessibility, further prospects and economic value of proposed projects to the provinces. It is expected that the Roadmap will be approved in late 2012.

This paper will discuss Vietnamese bauxite deposits, the Roadmap for sustainable development of the Bauxite-Alumina-Aluminium industry, infrastructure needs, and potential environmental impacts.