Japan will provide Vietnam cutting-edge technologies and soft loans for a joint rare-earth mining project and construction of the latter’s second nuclear plant, Ambassador Tanizaki Yasuaki told Tuoi Tre.
They are such important projects that his country is trying hard to speed them up, he said, adding Japan will take care of all requirements for mining rare earths, such as feasibility studies, low-interest loans, transfer of the latest technologies, training, and waste treatment.
Sojitz Corp and Toyota Tsusho Corp had begun feasibility studies for mining in Vietnam even before the two countries reached agreement. So, are there any other firms interested in this? Do you know about Vietnam’s estimated reserves?
The two companies cooperated with Vietnamese government agencies to prospect for rare earth minerals in Lai Chau and Lao Cai Provinces.
As far as I know, Vietnam has very large reserves.
After we finish exploring and estimating the reserves, the two countries will discuss mining in accordance with local laws.
A few other major firms also want to mine for rare earths in Vietnam.
The Japanese companies plan to form a joint venture to take advantage of each other’s technologies when it comes to extracting and refining the ores.
Besides building the nuclear power plant in Ninh Thuan Province, will Japan also provide loans for it?
I have no specific information about the cost of this project.
The two sides will work it out soon. However, what I can say now is it will cost at least several billion yen (¥1 billion = US$12 million).
Japan cannot provide ODA but only preferential loans to fund the plant.
However, some of its components like roads, power supply system, and others can be built using ODA.
What about the implementation process?
As I mentioned earlier, Japan is stepping up preparations for these projects.
There are many experienced nuclear power suppliers with high technologies showing interest in the Vietnamese market.
Some of them, including Hitachi, Toshiba, and the Tokyo Electric Power Company, have set up a joint venture to build nuclear plants in the country.
Vietnam has chosen Japan as its partner to mine rare earths and build its second nuclear power plant, a joint statement by the two governments in Hanoi last month said.
* Japan provided Vietnam US$19 billion in ODA until 2009. It offers $1.2 billion in ODA each year, according to Yasuaki.
The ODA loans are mostly provided for infrastructure projects like roads, seaports, and subways.
* Vietnam remains an attractive investment destination for Japanese small and medium-sized enterprises, Yasuaki said.