Coal mining digs VN north out of a hole
Quaûng Ninh Province, a pillar of Vieät Nam’s mining industry, has suffered hardship throughout the past century at the hands of French and American forces, while economic downturns have also taken their toll. Despite this, the region continues to embody
Quaûng Ninh Province, a pillar of Vieät Nam's mining industry, has suffered hardship throughout the past century, but the region has overcome many setbacks to help drive national growth.
The mining workers' movement is considered the cornerstone of politics and the economy in the northeastern province of Quaûng Ninh. The movement played a vital role not only in Vieät Nam's revolution, but also in helping shape many generations of provincial leaders - and economics. On November 12, 1936, more than 30,000 miners stood up to demand human rights and democracy. It was a landmark day in the region and later became their traditional day.
From 1937-40, the fight for civil rights and democracy grew rapidly until the late 1950s when the French ruthlessly suppressed the movement, uncovering and razing almost all revolutionary bases in the mining region.
To cope with the situation, the Vietnamese resistance force assigned Nguyeãn Ngoïc Ñaøm and its military weapons department to choose staunch party members who were also good at mechanics or mining so that they could work in the Frenchrun collieries.
Ñaøm was appointed deputy commander of the Hoàng Gai Special Region [of the resistance government] in 1949, and then became major general of the Vieät Nam People’s Army before becoming chairman of the Quaûng Ninh People's Committee until his retirement in 1987.
He and his comrades returned to Quaûng Ninh to restore and strengthen the revolutionary movement of the miners until the liberation of the mining region from the French in 1955.
After liberation, more staff from the military weapons department were sent to Quaûng Ninh to build Party organisations and local governmental agencies as well as the miners’ union organisation.
About 200 people - the resistance force in disguise - were sent to Quaûng Ninh from 1948 and they played vital roles in the miners’ movement.
After liberation many held important positions, including chairman and party secretary, of the province. Only 11 of them are still alive.
Despite the destruction of many facilities during the withdrawal of the French in 1955, engineer Traàn Nguyeãn Hieàn and his workers managed to restore the production line at
Hoøn Gai coalmines within just 20 days.
The competitive spirit in production developed strongly after 1955, which led to the advent of many “Labour Heroes” who restored the production line while increasing labour productivity.
In 1960, open-cut mining sites in the province were extracted and had about 20 different names until the present Vieät Nam National Coal-Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited title was assumed.
The mining industry in the province made such extraordinary achievements in the 1960s that it was praised as typical of the competition movement in economic production by President Hoà Chí Minh at the National Party Congress in 1960.
Four years later in 1964, the mining region was heavily bombarded by American aircraft. This was a difficult period, but workers maintained production
The industry still has a bright future if it invests in modern technology and personnel training.
by transferring the factories into specially dug caves.
After the bombing stopped in 1972, production was gradually restored.
The most flourishing period for the mining industry was from 1994-97. The industry, whose profits rely heavily on exports, suffered badly during the economic downturn in the region in 1998-99.
But only two years later, normal production was resumed and coal output increased from five million to more than 10 million tonnes - and now more than 40 million tonnes.
While the mining industry is still a main economic sector for Quaûng Ninh, tourism has become increasingly important.
In supporting tourism and to minimise the impact of pollution on the quality of life of people, the mining industry has spent millions of ñoàng on modern and green technologies, including planting trees and building waste-water treatment plants.
However, during the past few years, the industry has experienced a difficult time due to another economic downturn. The amount of coal exported has fallen, leading the considerable reduction of the company's income.
The decrease in turn creates headaches for the company, which has to pay wages to more than 130,000 workers and officials.
Despite this, the industry still has a bright future if it invests in modern technology and personnel training.
The open-cut mines will be closed in the next few years and underground mining will take over. There are still huge coal reserves that have not been tapped.
Hoaøng Tuaán Döông is former party secretary of the Hoøn Gai coal mining company.
Modern mega-machines with huge capacity have played a key role in helping the coal-mining industry increase its output to more than 40 million tonnes a year.
Tourism has been tranforming Quaûng
Ninh into a greener economy and contributes an increasing proportion
of the province’s income.