Overall, Vietnam does not possess a worldwide reputation as a significant mining country. However, surprisingly, the country has a diverse selection of mineral deposits, with over 60 kinds of minerals having been discovered. In addition, mining plays an important role in the economy. While its overall proportion has been declining due to the spectacular growth of the manufacturing sector over the last twenty years, Vietnam’s mining and quarrying sector still accounted for 5.55 percent of the country’s total GDP in 2020. Beyond oil and gas, Vietnam has large long-term deposits of bauxite, rare earths, titanium, coal, limestone, silica sands, facing stone, building stone and mineral water that have sparked the interest of multinational mining firms. Other (mostly domestically) extracted minerals include iron ore, chromium, manganese, copper, tin, lead-zinc, tungsten, gold, rubies, sapphires, topaz, spinel, antimony, manganese, uranium, feldspar, kaolin, talc, fluorite, barite, graphite, dolomite, phosphorite, bentonite and diatomite.
The mining industry in Vietnam is still predominantly focused on one mining company: Vietnam National Coal and Minerals Industries Corporation (“Vinacomin”), which is a state-owned entity (SOE). Foreign investment has been increasing in recent years, but still comprises a small proportion in comparison with the other areas of the economy (such as manufacturing). The Constitution of Vietnam and the Law on Minerals state that generally all underground resources are owned by the people and the government of Vietnam (i.e., the administrative body of the state). Various agencies are involved with the actual regulation of mining in Vietnam, the most important being the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE). This agency manages mining activities nationally, including proposing and issuing regulations implementing the Law on Minerals (enacted 2010), and the issuance of mining-related licenses for larger mining projects. Other agencies that are concerned with the mining sector in Vietnam include the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), the Ministry of Construction (MOC), and the People’s provincial committees (which issue licenses for the mining of construction materials and small scale operations). Additionally, projects in the mining industry are also subject to the investment law, the labor code, the enterprise law, the environmental protection law, the land law, the corporate tax code, and the natural resources tax code.
Businesses involved in Vietnam’s mining industry are faced with a variety of complex legal and business issues from labor and operating concerns to complex regulation matters. As such, it is necessary to possess a trusted legal advisor at your side to navigate and remain in compliance with the numerous applicable laws, regulations and ministries touching on the industry. With over a decade of experience, Corporate Counsels’ attorneys provide comprehensive advice and services from the financing and development of projects, exploration, exploitation, processing, transportation and sale of non-ferrous and precious metals, coal and other minerals.
Corporate Counsels’ has been retained by mining operations, investors, financiers and insurers in the business of extracting, selling, trading and financing mining and minerals. Working closely with our clients, we acquire a deep understanding of business goals and operations to develop efficient and cost-effective legal and compliance strategies. Further, as the legal landscape of Vietnam is ever-changing, Corporate Counsels’ lawyers monitor industry developments and regulatory changes on an ongoing basis, keeping our clients continuously updated. Because of this deep knowledge and technical competence, we enable our clients to take advantage of opportunities as well as minimize risks.
Corporate Counsels provides a number of premier advisory services concerning our Mining industry clients including:
- Analysis of Master Plan compatibility (Vietnam);
- Construction and procurement;
- Employment and labor;
- Entity formation and structure;
- Environmental impact assessments and compliance;
- Exploration, exploitation, and other licencing;
- Financing and investment;
- Intellectual property;
- Mergers & Acquisitions;
- Mineral reporting and classification;
- Negotiating exploration and mining joint ventures and associations;
- Regulatory compliance;
- Royalties and related agreements;
- Storage, transport, sale and export of exploited minerals;
- Transfer, securitization or assignment of rights and licences;
- Water licenses;