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World gem experts gather for conference

Update: October, 17/2013 - 09:29

HA NOI (VNS) — More than 60 scientists from 23 countries around the world are here for a five-day conference on gemstones.

The thirty third International Gemological Conference is being held for the first time in Viet Nam, which is mostly known for its red star rubies and sapphires.

"We believe that you, as leading world experts in your fields, have brought your latest findings to the conference," Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan told the participants yesterday at her office.

The organizers said they wanted to bring the latest news from scientific labs to the government and the business sector.

"We are all cohabitants on this earth, so we have to protect the living environment for years to come," said Do Minh Phu, president of DOJI Corporation, one of the country's leading gemstone traders, which co-organises the conference with the National University of Ha Noi.

"We all know well that the mining process exudes a large amount of waste and mined gemstones are non-renewable resources. It is our job to manage the exploitation of natural resources, and at the same time, protect the environment," Phu said.

But the corporation declined to provide the latest statistics on its gemstone trading and/or mining market share. Participants will visit a ruby mine in Luc Yen District in Yen Bai Province.

According to a report on the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment's website, the mining industry had been credited by some organisations as the key to providing jobs, and as a result reducing poverty, eliminating hunger and bringing about sustainable development.

But social researchers have found otherwise, according to the ministry. Mining does not provide as many jobs as it should, and dust, gas, sewage and the chemicals used in the refining process have been found to pollute the environment.

"We will use your research to map out an orientation as well as for the management and exploitation of our mines," Doan told the researchers. "We hope that you as scientists shall spread the message and Vietnamese precious stones will get to more people around the world."

Participants at the conference have voiced their approval at the way the event has connected the academia, the government and the business sector, because otherwise scientific papers would only be circulated among experts and not be applied in daily activities. — VNS

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