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Vietnam, China join hands to explore iron ore
Updated: 2004-08-09 16:53

Vietnamese and Chinese partners are joining hands to exploit iron ores and build the first steel plant in Vietnam's northern Lao Cai Province.

"The two sides plan to implement two projects on annually exploiting 2.5-3 million tons iron ores for local sales and export to China, and constructing a steel plant with a yearly capacity of 500,000 tons," said the provincial Department of Planning and Investment on Monday.

Of the iron ores to be annually tapped in Vietnam's Quy Xa mine with an estimated reserve of 120 million tons, 1-1.5 million tons will be exported to China in exchange of fat coal and coke, 500,000 tons supplied to an existing steel factory in northern Thai Nguyen Province in Vietnam, and the rest to a future steel plant in Lao Cai.

The steel plant, the first of its kind in the province, will annually turn out 500,000 tons of cast iron in the first phase, 500,000 tons of steel billet in the second phase, and 500,000 tons of construction steel in the third phase.

"The two projects involve three partners, namely the Vietnam Steel Corporation, the Lao Cai Mineral Company and China's Kunming Steel Group. The Vietnamese side is expected to contribute 51 percent of the total capital," said Le Tien Dung, head of the department's External Relations Bureau.

The two projects will be submitted to the Vietnamese government for approval before October 2004, he noted, adding that the Vietnam Steel Corporation and the Chinese partner signed a memorandum of understanding late last month.

According to the corporation, investment for mining the Quy Xa will stand at US$40-60 million, and for building the steel plant reach US$200 million.

Now, Lao Cai is home to 23 foreign-invested projects with total registered capital of US$35 million, of which 18 are Chinese ones worth US$20.3 million.

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