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Quang Ninh coal mines open after damaging rains in July

Update: September, 11/2015 - 09:22
Many areas of Mong Duong Mine were flooded after after damaging torrential rains in July. Most of the Viet Nam Coal and Mineral Industries Group's (Vinacomin) 85,000 coal miners in coastal Quang Ninh Province have resumed work. — Photo vinacomin.vn

QUANG NINH (VNS) — Most of the Viet Nam Coal and Mineral Industries Group's (Vinacomin) 85,000 coal miners in coastal Quang Ninh Province have resumed work after damaging torrential rains in July.

The miners in Cam Pha and Ha Long cities, however, are still dealing with flood's aftermath and have yet to return to work. It will take at least several months to bring mine production back up to pace, reported the Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper.

Ong The Minh, deputy director of the Ha Tu Coal Company under Vinacomin, said that 100 per cent of the company's employees were back at work by September 1.

"We are draining off water and mud from mining field and expect to restart coal extraction in the dry season," he said.

After the incessant rains, two of the Ha Tu Coal Company's mines were completely submerged.

"To ensure productivity, the company must address the flooding aftermath and shift to other coal exploiting areas," Minh said.

Even when coalmines resumed operations, many companies reported operating far below their pre-flood outputs.

The Hon Gai Coal Company, which has an annual generating capacity of 2.6 million tonnes, now yields only 5,000 tonnes of natural coal per day, half of normal production.

Thanh Cong Coal Factory under the Hon Gai Coal Company has yet to restart operations after a breached void caused an accident on August 20 that killed two and injured ten.

Mining field 917, also owned by the company, is still submerged 50m under water. More than 500 workers at the mine have stepped up efforts to recover roads and drain water since early August. The company predicts it will not be ready until October.

The Mong Duong Coal Company, which suffered severe damage from the rains, reported it would finish water drainage by Saturday. Only two of its 15 units have restarted extracting coal so other Vinacomin companies provided temporary jobs to 500 of the company's miners.

Despite low coal production, workers' wages have gone unchanged.

Bui Khac That, director of the Hon Gai Coal Company, said that his company had actually raised wages for coal miners by 15 per cent to ensure they have stable incomes.

Vinacomin and its member companies also pledged not to dismiss any workers.

The catastrophic torrential rains and floods battered Quang Ninh Province from July 26 to 31.

Vinacomin, known to have the largest coal reserves in the country, halted all coal production to focus on flood prevention and post-flood recovery. The group estimates is has suffered VND1.2 trillion (US$55 million) in losses so far. — VNS

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