Community Impacts of the Lang Cam Coal Mine in Thai Nguyen, Vietnam
CIM Vancouver 2006
Michelle Tung, Tran Qyunh Hoa,
Vietnam’s economy is growing so fast that gross domestic product (GDP) growth will remain above 8% in 2005. To cope with the increased energy demand, the Ministry of Industry of Vietnam recently launched a major initiative to strengthen the coal mining industry which aims to expand coal production to 35-40 million tons by 2010.
A major barrier to the sustainable development of Vietnam’s coal industry is the potential for environment and socio-economic impacts on mine workers and local communities. Vietnam has good environmental regulatory policies including requirements for comprehensive environmental impact assessments, environmental health and safety plans, budgeting for socio-economic development and mitigation of impacts and the protection of the interests of the local people. However, the implementation of environmental policy and the capacity to manage environmental and socio-economic issues in the mining sector remains low.
This paper outlines some of the challenges facing Vietnam’s coal industry through a case study of Lang Cam Coal Mine in Northern Vietnam. Key issues identified include: a lack of transparency in resettlement plans, lack of employment opportunities, loss of land, loss of livelihoods, increased environmental contamination, increased social vices and STDs (i.e. drug use, prostitution, HIV-AIDs) and community health and safety.