Ngoc Cuong Co., Ltd: Intensive Investment, Sustainable Development

4:53:35 PM | 10/5/2011

Dien Bien province has a great potential for extractive development on large reserves of minerals. The locality has found 32 iron ore deposits and 14 coal mines but they remain untapped. In the past years, Dien Bien has offered incentive policies and mechanisms for mining investors. In response to the province’s appeal, Ngoc Cuong Co., Ltd boldly invested in mining activities, becoming one of the first private enterprises in the province engaging in the extractive industry.
Director Bui Viet Cuong said the company, established in 2004, mainly specialises in coal mining. Currently, the firm has been licensed to exploit coal in Tin Lan (area: 34.2 ha) and Na Sang 2 (area: 54.68 ha) in Dien Bien district. This business is a daunting challenge for any company in Dien Bien district. Ngoc Cuong has passed through many difficulties and challenges in the past seven years. Before running his own company, Director Bui Viet Cuong worked in the coal industry for nearly 15 years; thus, he understood difficulties of this industry.
Coal from licensed mines has high quality, but their small reserves, thin seams and numerous impurities cause a low coal recovery rate of 50 percent - 60 percent. Small reserves also inhibit the company from mechanising production. At present, the main method of mining is human-powered. Ngoc Cuong Co., Ltd has made efforts to find creative solutions to this difficulty. It plants green trees in mining sites to reduce dust and preserve the environment. Since 2008, it planted 500 hybrid acacias on a pilot programme, paving the way for growing trees on the both sides of coalmine access roads. Director Bui Viet Cuong said the tree planting generates mutual benefit: Protecting the environment and providing support for coal mines.
The company has applied many initiatives to make the most of coal in the two mines. Remarkably, it designed and built subways into coal mines in addition to the main entries, thus ensuring dryness of the mines. Each tunnel is 1.7 - 2 meters high and 1.5 - 1.8 m wide. As coal mines have small reserves and the seams are not thick (only 80 - 90 centimetres), the company digs into the mine in different ways. To ensure occupational safety and mitigate environmental effects, obsolete tunnels are filled or fenced.
The company coordinates with relevant organs to practice labour safety and fire prevention, and improves itself in repairing and maintaining equipment. As its workers have to work in a low-light environment full of toxic gases, the company follows a strict employment mechanism to ensure highest benefits for its workers.
Despite being in the phase of investment, Ngoc Cuong Co., Ltd has made initial success. The company annually produces 4,000 to 5,000 tonnes of coal and earns total turnover of about VND4 billion, providing regular jobs for 150 - 200 employees. In the next period, the company will boost its investment to raise mining output to 10,000 - 15,000 tonnes of coal.
Director Bui Viet Cuong said limitations all local coalminers suffer include simple production and local consumption - the fundamental reasons for low competitiveness and inefficiency. A company must have a screening and preparing facility to improve quality. According to experts, if it is processed into coke, Dien Bien coal can be exported to other localities. This approach will help economise natural resources and reduce costs. Thus, Ngoc Cuong is investing VND12 billion to build a coke processing line in the province. In this work, the company is encountering capital shortages and seeking support from banks and potential partners.
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