With more than half of the area being underlain by basalt, Dak Nong province has long been famous for its rich, red, basalt-weathered soil, which supports a dense tropical forest ecosystem and dozens of high-quality commercial and fruit tree species. Coincidentally, this red soil is also the source of the bauxite, which accounts for 62% of Vietnam’s and 20% of the world’s total reserves.
Mining and processing bauxite however, can greatly help economic growth but it also causes environmental and social impacts. Being deeply aware of that, the province has decided to reserve most of the bauxite ore within the Dak Nong Geopark territory, allowing its mining and processing to take place only in the two southernmost districts of Dak R’Lap and Tuy Duc, where the Nhan Co Alumina processing plant has been operated and an aluminum electrolysis component is planned.
At present the bauxite ore is mined by the back-stepping strip method, partially reclaiming the land with top soil and tree planting. An online environmental monitoring system is installed and regular checks are undertaken by State management agencies for the timely handling of all unexpected failures.
The bauxite ore, after mining, is taken to the processing plant for preliminarily removal of clay and other harmful substances. It is thereafter tempered at high pressure under which aluminum is dissolved in aluminate form. The refined alumina is mainly used for producing aluminum, blast furnace, iron/steel, cement, molten metal funnel etc. Major export markets include Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, India, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Switzerland.