Vietnam Proposes 160-km Conveyor Belt to Import Coal from Laos

Quang Tri Province in central Vietnam has put forth a plan to construct a 160-kilometer conveyor belt for the transportation of coal from Laos.

Vn Express reports that Vietnam’s demand for coal has been increasing steadily, leading to congestion and missed business opportunities at the La Lay border crossing in Dakrong district, where the infrastructure is unable to cope with the demand.

To address this issue, the province suggests building a conveyor belt that will transport coal from Laos’ Sekong and Salavanh provinces to the My Thuy seaport in Hai Lang district.

The proposed conveyor belt has the capacity to carry 1,500-1,600 tonnes of coal per hour, allowing Vietnam to import 15-20 million tons of coal from Laos annually. In Laos, the belt will stretch for 85 kilometers from the coal mines to the La Lay border crossing, and an additional 75 kilometers will be covered from the border crossing to Vietnam’s My Thuy seaport.

The estimated cost for the Vietnamese section of the conveyor belt installation is VND10.8 trillion (approximately USD 459.77 million).

Initially, investors plan to construct a 5-kilometer section at the border crossing, capable of transporting 6,000 tons of coal per hour. A joint team of experts from Laos and Vietnam conducted a site survey on May 17, and they recommended that both governments allow investment in the conveyor belt project.

Once operational, this conveyor belt will surpass the world’s current longest conveyor belt, which spans nearly 100 kilometers in the Western Sahara desert, connecting the Bou Craa phosphate mine to the coastal town of El Marsa near Laayoune.

Quang Tri Province has submitted a proposal to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, requesting permission to collaborate with Salavanh Province in Laos for the design of warehouses and facilities at the La Lay border crossing. Le Duc Tien, the Deputy Chairman of Quang Tri, highlighted that the conveyor belt will enhance coal import efficiency, protect the environment, and preserve traffic infrastructure.

Vietnam aims to import 20-30 million tons of coal annually for either domestic consumption or export to third countries. Currently, due to infrastructure limitations and frequent congestion, Quang Tri can only import around 2 million tons of coal each year.