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Unlawful gold mining still rife in northern province

Update: February, 25/2014 - 09:26
llegal gold mining continues to be a problem in Pi Toong Commune in the northern mountainous province of Son La, despite local authorities' efforts to stop it.— Photo baosonla

SON LA (VNS)— Illegal gold mining continues to be a problem in Pi Toong Commune in the northern mountainous province of Son La, despite local authorities' efforts to stop it.

There are currently over ten illegal mines in the area, according to the latest statistics from local authorities.

Several local households have borrowed money to equip themselves with pneumatic drills and sluice boxes to exploit the precious metal.

Voice of Viet Nam (VOV) reporters recently visited the area and found it abuzz with noisy mining equipment and witnessed several gold miners setting up temporary accommodation around the mines.

Illegal gold mining has scarred the landscape, causing landslides and polluting water used for local agricultural production.

"We all know that what we are doing is illegal, dangerous, and causes environmental pollution, but we have no other choice because we don't make enough money from growing rice to live on," Vi Thi Lun, a local resident, told VOV.

Illegal gold mining has been reported in the area since 2011.

Local authorities had attempted to close illegal mines in recent years, but the situation hadn't changed, according to the commune People's Committee Chairman, Quang Van Tam.

Local authorities have confiscated machinery and tools used for gold mining, but residents simply replace them.

Muong La District's police in co-operation with the local Natural Resources and Environment Division and the commune People's Committee made efforts to stop illegal mining and set up an inspection team to deal with exploitation activities in the commune.

"The commune fines illegal miners VND2 million (US$95), but that's not enough of a deterrent, and local residents continue mining after they've paid the fine," Tam said. — VNS

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