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Subsidiaries of Việt Nam National Coal-Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin) have deployed many solutions such as applying science and technology to production, improving working conditions, increasing income and providing housing for miners, so that miners will stay with the coal industry.

Nguyễn Văn Nam, a 32-year-old miner, has worked at Vinacomin’s Thống Nhất Coal Company in Cẩm Phả District, in the northern-eastern province of Quảng Ninh for more than 10 years.

Nam said in the past, the company’s longwall mining was dug manually, but now the company installed a modern frame system which is much safer. Excavators, drills and winches were used for longwall mining now to increase productivity.

Thanks to that, the average income of the company’s workers was more than VNĐ1 million (US$40) per day. It could reach VNĐ1.3-1.4 million ($52-56) each day if the miner worked on the weekend.

Nam said he earned about VNĐ500-600 million ($20,290-24,350) per year.

In 2010, he moved from the coastal central province of Nghệ An to the north-eastern province of Quảng Ninh to learn mining. After graduation, he was recruited by the company.

Currently, he is the team leader of a group of 32 miners.

Because of stable income, he already bought nearly 100 sqm of land to build a three-storey house where he, his wife and his children can live quite comfortably.

Thus, he encouraged his elder brother to work for the company and both of them were now exemplary faces of the company in terms of labour productivity.

Implementing the corporation’s policy (mechanisation, computerisation and automation), the company has decided to invest in a monorail system combined with diesel locomotives to serve mining production.

Nguyễn Mạnh Toán, director of the company told the Nhân Dân (The People) online newspaper that the company had poured a total VNĐ27.4 billion ($1.1 million) into increasing the production capacity in Lộ Trí coal mining area.

The company also put into use a diesel power station, providing backup power for equipment in case the grid power is suddenly cut.

All workshops of the company also run production-order software, reducing administrative procedures and improving efficiency in production management, he said.

The company was added to the top list of the corporation’s coal mining companies with annual mining output reaching two million tonnes of raw coal.

In the meantime, Mạo Khê Coal Company in Đông Triều District, has reached an annual mining output of about 2.3 million tonnes in recent years, although it is an old mine having been in continuous exploitation for nearly 70 years.

Achieving the above results, the company’s top strategy is innovation, application of science and technology, deployment of mechanisation and synchronous automation at all stages.

Director of the company Nguyễn Văn Tuân said Mạo Khê coal mine was classified as a mine, which contained much natural methane gas, always posing potential risks of fire and explosion.

Therefore, the company installed a modern centralised monitoring system to manage the gas 24 hours a day to ensure safe production.

Last year, the company had 10 miners earning more than VNĐ600 million ($24,500) each year, nearly 200 miners earning from VNĐ500 million ($20,400) to VNĐ600 million ($24,500) each year, and more than 400 miners earning from VNĐ400 million ($16,350) to VNĐ500 million ($20,400) each year.

Providing accommodation

A social housing building for miners in Hòn Gai Coal Company under Việt Nam National Coal-Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited in the northern-eastern province of Quảng Ninh. — VNA/VNS Photo Tuấn Anh

Currently, the corporation has 50 companies located in Quảng Ninh Province, with a total of nearly 80,000 workers, including more than 51,000 migrant workers, so the need for stable accommodation is an increasingly urgent problem.

Since the 2000s, the companies have built 26 high-rise apartment buildings, providing accommodation for nearly 10,000 people.

In early October 2023, the corporation’s Trade Union coordinated with relevant units to advise miners to buy social housing apartments in an area in Hạ Long City.

After the consultation session, nearly 100 workers registered to buy the apartments, costing from VNĐ700 million ($28,600) to 1.2 billion ($49,000) per apartment, with an area of 40-70 sq.m.

The corporation’s Trade Union plans to organise many similar programmes to advise miners to buy social housing.

By 2025, the corporation will remove problems to build 10 social housing areas, covering more than 5 ha, providing accommodation for about 2,400 miners.

As calculated, Thống Nhất Coal Company has 3,500 workers, half of them in need of housing.

However, the company’s two dormitories now only accommodate nearly 700 workers.

Thus, the company is completing administrative procedures to build another accommodation complex in Cẩm Thành area. The complex is initially expected to have seven floors with 68 apartments, providing accommodation for 272 people, with a total investment of VNĐ73 billion ($2.98 million).

Chairman of the corporation’s Trade Union Lê Thanh Xuân said the corporation’s companies had made efforts to deploy a lot of solutions to improve working conditions, productivity and income for miners over the past time.

Additionally, the trade union also worked with relevant units to implement many welfare programmes every year for workers, such as building “Trade Union’s Warm House” for disadvantaged and poor miners, and providing jobs for the wives of miners who suffered accidents or injuries during work.

It is estimated that the corporation needs to recruit and train about 4,000-4,500 candidates to supplement the number of workers who retired or quit their jobs because of hardship each year. — VNS