VietNamNet Bridge – The government of Vietnam has been prohibiting exporting raw
natural minerals over the last few years. However, the ban has not had high
The term “Dutch disease” says about apparent relationship between the increase
in exploitation of natural resources and a decline in the manufacturing sector.
The countries living on natural resources exports have been warned that they
would have to pay a heavy price in the future for their overexploitation
Digging the earth, undermining the future
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) has recently granted tens of export
licenses to the mining enterprises in 13 localities, saying that this was a
temporary solution to help the enterprises clear their big stocks and take back
the investment capital.
However, the explanation by MOIT cannot calm the people down. They believe that
the ministry’s decision has neutralized the government’s instruction No. 02
released in January 2012 on strengthening the state management over the
exploration, exportation, processing and export of minerals.
The instruction said that Vietnam stops exporting many types of minerals under
In fact, the decision to stop exporting raw minerals was made many years ago
already, while the regulations on tightening the control over the mineral
exports have been promulgated every year. However, the regulations have also
been removed many times.
Mining enterprises were told that they could export inventory ilmenite from
titanium mining until the end of June 2012. However, later, the green light on
was turned for enterprises to continue the export
Some documents said that enterprises must not export iron ore, unless they
needed to export iron ore to exchange for coke coal. However, in most cases, the
ore exports were not for the exchange of coke coal, but just to help enterprises
clear the inventories.
Nguyen Thanh Son, Director of the Song Hong Energy Corporation, affirmed that
the Dutch disease has been raging in Vietnam. He has many times warned that the
easiest source of income is the sale of minerals, but it is not a sustainable
source of income.
The trap in the future
He compared the two different development models of the two localities, Quang
Ninh province which has been relying on natural mineral exploitation, and Vinh
Phuc province, with no minerals, to prove his argument.
Quang Ninh now ranks the fifth in the country in terms of the income for the
state budget. However, it lags far behind Vinh Phuc if considering the income
for the state budget on the total investment.
A report of the National Assembly’s Steering Committee showed that the number of
mining enterprises has been increasing continuously from 427 in 2000 to nearly
2,000 in 2011. Meanwhile, more than 4,200 licenses for mineral exploitation have
been licensed in 62 provinces and cities.
The figures show the rapid development of the mining industry, which has
resulted in the natural resources loss and the devastation to the environment.
Though the number of enterprises keeps increasing, the contribution of the
mining industry to the state budget has not increased accordingly. A report
showed that in 2008, the mining industry ranked the fifth in terms of the
investment capital, but ranked the 8th only in terms of the contribution to the
The problem is that Vietnam has been mostly exporting raw materials, not
processed products. Meanwhile, it has to import processed products which are the
input materials for many manufacturing industries.