|Illegal gold mining along the Hien River section flowing in Cao Bang Province has severely polluted the local environment over the last month. — Photo baocaobang
CAO BANG (VNS) — Illegal gold mining along the Hien River section flowing through Thach An and Nguyen Binh districts in Cao Bang Province has severely polluted the local environment over the last month.
A Viet Nam News Agency (VNA) report yesterday said the river has become very muddy as several groups of people (around 10 each) used excavators and water pumps to dig a hole with a circumference of about 100sq.m near the Nam Dang stream.
Some groups were also using small automobiles to transport soil dug from the stream to other places to sift for gold, a VNA correspondent found.
Dinh Huu Thong, chairman of the Minh Khai Commune People's Committee in Thach An District, said illegal gold exploitation has been happening in the two districts for the last 10 years.
In 2012, the provincial People's Committee had issued an instruction banning the activity, and different agencies in the province, including police and local administrations, had joined areas to carry out raids.
The illegal exploitation was temporarily controlled, and commune administrations had asked residents to sign a commitment not to repeat their violations.
But the illegal exploitation had resumed about a month ago.
Thong said, adding that his administration did not have the authority or resources to deal with the issue on its own right.
The commune has set up a four-member inspection team, but the inspectors could only issue a maximum fine of VND2 million (US$95), which was not an effective deterrent. The illegal miners paid the fine and resumed their activities.
Thong said seizing equipment was very difficult because it was too heavy for the inspection team to confiscate.
Moreover, most of the exploiters were poor people, so the inspectors did not have the heart to fine them. However, issuing warnings has also proved ineffective, Thong said.
Thang Trong Dung, head of the Cao Bang People's Committee office, said that the province would work with the two district administrations on more effective measures to prevent the illegal gold mining. — VNS