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Gemstone mining pollutes Dak Lak

Update: January, 10/2014 - 08:10
Illegal mining for gemstones since September last year has been contaminating streams and the environment in Krong Nang District in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.— Photo doisongphapluat

DAK LAK (VNS) — Illegal mining for gemstones since September last year has been contaminating streams and the environment in Krong Nang District in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.

Local resident Phung Van Duyen complained to a Viet Nam News Agency reporter that a lot of mining was taking place along the banks of the stream, which had created deep holes and cracks.

"Water from the stream was essential for everyday purposes such as bathing and laundry, but now the water is polluted and no longer useable," he said.

Some gemstone mines are located in an area behind the high mountains and dense trees, and miners have to pass a tough road through the forest to reach them.

"We heard that precious stones worth hundreds of millions of dong can be found in Krong Nang, so we have come here to find them and endured the cold weather and hunger in the hope that we can get rich," said Tran Van Huan, a prospector from the northern province of Ninh Binh.

"In order to find gemstones, we have been digging everywhere. We've also excavated large rocks and cut down big trees in our efforts to find them. However, we've drawn a blank," he added.

According to Dak Lak Province's Natural Resources and Environment Department, the information miners had received was false and there were no sapphires or quartz in Krong Nang District.

"Hundreds of people have been flocking to Krong Nang District to look for sapphires and quartz crystals," said the head of the district police, Pham Chau.

Mining activities had caused public disorder and pollution, local authorities said.

To maintain public order, local police have expelled more than 600 prospectors from the area. However, people were still sneaking into the forest to search for gemstones, local police reported.

"It is difficult to stop illegal gemstone mining in Krong Nang. The mining often takes place in remote areas which are hard to find and inspect," Chau said.

To tackle the issue, the Krong Nang People's Committee has intensified the monitoring activities around the area to stop illegal gemstone exploitation. — VNS

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