Vietnam 100 years ago: Tonkin coal-fields

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It is impossible to estimate the importance of the Tonkin coal-fields, as it is not known where they begin, and where they end. The strata no doubt traverse the whole country; for, having been discovered in the island of Hainam, and worked at K^bao and Hong-Hay, as well as at several places in the Dong-Trieu, they appear again at the upper part of the Red River,
where Beams were discovered between Yen-Bai and Lao-Kai.

Several pits were opened there, and the coal taken from them and used in war-ships gave great satisfaction, for, though only surface coal, it is lighted easily and burns well. These seams running parallel with the upper reaches of the river may have a great future before them, as they secure a freight for the junks going up with goods, while they will facilitate steam navigation by obviating the necessity for artificial coal depots.

The cotton trade may also be benefited by it, as spinning factories would
have abundance of combustible ready to hand. It is difficult to speak with much assurance, but I thought it well to mention the recent discovery and point out some of the advantages which might be derived from it, because, let me repeat, coal is one of the essential conditions of the industrial development of Tonkin.

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Text: Prince Henri d’Orléans (1867-1901)
Around Tonkin and Siam
Publication date: 1894
Publisher: London, Chapman & Hall
Photo: old photo from internet

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