Quang said the prime minister had yet to make a decision on the resignation.

Vietnamese media have been calling for Kien to quit since early September over his alleged failure to crack down on illegal coal mining and exports.

In August, a government inspection committee found Kien had "violated the principle of democratic focus" by allowing another state-owned company headed by his brother to mine coal in areas where it was prohibited.

The inspectors found several million tons of coal had been illegally exported, mainly to China. Losses to the government totaled about 254 million dollars.

The scandal came to light in early 2008 when several Vietnamese newspapers ran investigative articles on illegal coal mining in coastal Quang Ninh province near the Chinese border.

In July 2008, Dung ordered an investigation to determine who should be held responsible for the illegal mining.

Kien has also come under fire in local media overbauxite-mining projects in Vietnam's Central Highlands.

The bauxite-mining projects are being carried out by the Chinese state-owned aluminum company Chalco in cooperation with Vinacomin and have been widely criticized for environmental and national security reasons.

Deutsche Presse Agentur - Ocotber 3, 2009