Yen Bai: Plentiful Opportunities to Develop Mineral Industry & Agriculture

4:48:40 PM | 21/4/2011

Yen Bai is located in the heart of the upland northern mountainous region of Vietnam, lying at latitude from 21.024' to 22.017' North and longitude from 103.056' to 105.003' East. The province is bordered by Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces on the northwest, Tuyen Quang and Ha Giang provinces on the northeast, Phu Tho province on the southeast, and Son La province on the southwest.
With its geographic importance, Yen Bai is a crucial link on the Kunming - Lao Cai - Yen Bai - Hanoi - Hai Phong Economic Corridor. The province has nine administrative units, including seven districts, one town and one capital city. It has a population of over 750,000 from 30 ethnic groups, with the majority Kinh (Vietnamese) accounting for 53 percent. The workforce has over 400,000, or 55 percent of the provincial population, adequate to support social and economic development. The transport system is relatively convenient with 4,647 km of roads, including four national roads and 11 provincial roads. Automobiles can reach all commune centres.
The Hanoi - Yen Bai - Lao Cai Highway, which is already kicked off and scheduled to open for traffic in 2011, will facilitate travel, and commercial and economic exchange of Yen Bai province.
Socioeconomic development achievements
In 2009, Yen Bai’s economy expanded 12.89 percent. Currently, the province has nearly 1,000 companies of different economic sectors, especially foreign-invested and State-owned entities. They have registered to invest VND5,420 billion and created 24,000 jobs. They are also the main taxpayers in the province, usually accounting for 55 - 65 percent of the province’s budget collection. At present, the province has 15 foreign-invested companies with total registered capital of about US$42.1 million. As of June 2010, foreign investors disbursed US$15 million and employed 500 workers. Yen Bai province always appreciates the importance of foreign capital in its social and economic development.
Potential and advantages
Yen Bai province has built up concentrated farming areas to produce and supply raw materials for processing industries. It now has 12,000 ha of export tea farms which produce about 80,000 tonnes of fresh tea a year and over 30,000 ha of cinnamon trees. The province also has rich potential for agriculture and forestry development. Its natural forest area covers 229,430 ha and artificial forests are 145,630 ha, capable of producing over 200,000 cubic metres of timber a year. This is a rich source of raw materials for wood processing and paper industries.
Animal husbandry is developed, as the province has over 2,000 ha of pastures and vast forest coverage. Forests are a good advantage for livestock development. Even as a mountainous province, Yen Bai has huge potential to develop fisheries as it has 21,000 ha of ponds and lakes, and thousands of kilometres of rivers and streams. In particular, Thac Ba Lake has 25 species of valuable water creatures like carp and sturgeon.
There are many types of minerals in Yen Bai province. Combustible materials include coal, peat and lignite. Metals consist of iron, copper and lead. Although mineral deposits in the province are not large in size, they have high value. For instance, white limestone in Luc Yen can be used for paving and carving; calcium carbonate in Yen Binh, with a brightness degree of over 90 percent, is being exploited in pit and powder forms; precious stone mines in Yen Binh - Luc Yen have produced the two largest rubies in Vietnam with weights of 2,300 grams and 1,960 grams.
In the coming years, Yen Bai province will attract investors to invest in mining and processing iron ores, kaolin, feldspars, rocks, stone tiles, limestone powder and other minerals. Yen Bai set up an industrial cluster south of Yen Bai City, one north of Van Yen district and one in Van Chan district where factories can process 10,000 tonnes of iron ores a year for export, 3,000 tonnes of insulated porcelains a year, 300,000 tonnes of kaolin together with many precious stones, white limestone, feldspar and quartz factories.
The diversity of natural landscapes enables Yen Bai province to develop tourism. Especially, Thac Ba tourist site is one of three largest artificial lakes with 1,331 islands and is surrounded by many mountains and interesting caves. Currently, Yen Bai is calling for big tourism projects in Thac Ba Lake area, making it a national scale eco-tourism site.
The province has plans to build industrial parks in the coming decade, five with a total area of 1,182 ha to be managed by the province and 19 with a combined area of 1,100 ha to be administered by districts.
Currently, the 137-ha Southern Yen Bai Industrial Park, located in Yen Bai City, has been approved to be a national industrial park and has been enlarged to 207.8 ha since 2010. The infrastructure investment in this industrial park has been basically completed, especially roads, water supply systems, drainage systems, 35-kV power lines and communications systems. To date, 10 companies have been licensed to locate their factories in the park, covering 73 percent of rentable area.
Investment attracting fields
With the goals of maintaining rapid and sustainable economic growth and improving the quality of socioeconomic development, Yen Bai province will attract investment capital in the following fields in the coming years: mining and processing minerals, construction materials like stone tiles, stone carving, ultra-fine calcium carbonate powder and porcelain. The province will also call investors to invest in building infrastructure systems in South Yen Bai Industrial Park, Au Lau Industrial Park, Minh Quan Industrial Park and North Van Yen Industrial Park. It will also attract investors to build and develop Thac Ba Lake tourist site, Suoi Giang ecological tourist site, Ban Bon ecological tourist site, Dam Hau ecological tourist site, hotels and motels. Yen Bai also will attract investors to develop commercial agriculture and forestry, as well as processing industries.
Along with its strengths, potentials and business supporting policies, Yen Bai is opening its door wide to welcome investors to cooperate for mutual development.