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Thermal power plants may face coal shortage

Update: July, 31/2015 - 08:52
Ha Tu Coal Mining is damaged by a landslide triggered by the historic rain storm in north-eastern Quang Ninh Province. — Photo vietnamnet.vn

QUANG NINH (VNS) — Quang Ninh Province's historic rainstorm this week severely disrupted the area's coal supplies, and could temporarily shut down several thermal power plants.

The Viet Nam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (VINACOMIN) said in a report yesterday that measures have been taken to protect coal mines and storage units in the province from flooding.

Floods earlier yesterday in Ha Lam Coal Mining Co.'s storage units caused the loss of 7,000 tonnes of coal. Other coal-mining companies also suffered heavy losses and damage to their infrastructure and machines.

Despite the heavy rain and flooding, hundreds of local residents worked out in the open to keep the valuable coal before it drifted into the sea. But despite their efforts, the rain put a complete stop to all Quang Ninh coal mining operations. The province focused all its manpower and resources on saving the coal mines and preventing residential areas from being contaminated by coal and ash.

Due to the adverse weather, VINACOMIN said it would be very difficult – or even impossible – to maintain a stable coal supply.

The group said it notified Viet Nam Electricity (EVN), the country's sole power provider.

More than 38,500 households in the province had been provided electricity by yesterday morning.

The Quang Ninh Electricity Company said more than 1,700 households still lived without power in Van Don Island District, which was inundated with floods triggered by the torrential rain.

It was unsafe to supply electricity when the floodwater was still high, the company said.

A senior official from EVN told Tuoi Tre (Youth) yesterday that a number of thermal electricity plants, including Hai Phong Thermal Power Plant 1 and 2, would be severely affected once their coal stock burnt out.

Deputy Minister of Trade and Ministry Cao Quoc Hung urged VINACOMIN to step up its efforts to ensure the safety of workers, machines and coal storage units in a meeting with the group's leaders during his visit to the province.

The deputy minister also asked the group to be ready to resume mining operations immediately after the rain stopped.

A low pressure area in northeastern Viet Nam created the heaviest rainstorm in 40 years, assailing Quang Ninh Province since Sunday. According to a report from the province's People Committee, the rain and flooding killed 17 people. Six fishermen are still missing, and the storm caused damages of more than VND1.5 trillion (US$68.8 million).

Navy to rescue

The Naval High Command and the Quang Ninh Province authorities yesterday sent a naval vessel to Co To Island to bring back 280 stranded tourists to the mainland.

Chairman of the People's Committee of Co To Island District Hoang Ba Nam said all hotels and guest houses had offered accommodation to the tourists at 30 to 50 per cent discounts during the time they were stranded on the island.

He said the remaing of the tourists may be able to return to mainland today should the weather improve.

Car auction

A man who refused to be identified has donated a Rolls-Royce Phantom car to help flood victims in the northern province of Quang Ninh and has asked not to be identified.

The car was delivered to the Quang Ninh news-paper's Social Charity Fund for auctioning off, and its reserve price has been set at VND16 billion (US$734,000). A new Phantom costs VND26-31 billion ($925,000-1.4 million).

Besides the car, the samaritan also gave VND2 billion ($92,000) to the local fund for flood victims. — VNS

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