This paper aims to identify the key components of a modern mining regulatory framework and examines the extent to which the Vietnamese context reflects these characteristics. Through detailed observation of two research locations in Vietnam-Phuoc Son and Bong Mieu-the paper investigates how national policy operates at a local level. Findings show that, over the past decade, the Vietnamese Government has initiated substantial reforms to the regulatory frameworks governing mining, with the central objective to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). However, it has become apparent that these reforms have numerous deficiencies and loopholes that have led to a range of unintended economic, social and environmental consequences. To cope with challenges such as rent-seeking, limited capacities and capabilities of government staff, failure of institutions and neglect of local communities, policy makers will need to think differently and strategically about the mining industry and how regulations are implemented. Only by addressing these weaknesses will the path be paved for the sustainable growth of Vietnam's mining industry into the future.