TUYEN QUANG (VNS)— Illegal gold mining continues in northern mountainous Tuyen Quang Province's Chiem Hoa District, despite authorities' efforts to stop it.
Vietnam News Agency reporters recently witnessed ships dredging sand from Gam River in Trung Hoa Commune. The sand was later poured through a gold filtering process, as gravel was discharged into the river.
The ships, disguised as sand and gravel scooping vessels, were said to have disappeared after being discovered by authorities.
In order to make the vacuuming of sand more effective, two divers were assigned to work under water to direct pipes in the river bed as they vacuumed up sand. Meanwhile, three other people were responsible for operating the ship and raising an alarm if authorities appeared.
Illegal miners previously had used dredgers to exploit gold, before Tuyen Quang Province issued an official ban on the use of these ships throughout the province in July of 2011, according to Dong Van Ha, deputy head of Chiem Hoa District's Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
The gold thieves now use smaller ships, equipped with generators, vacuum pipes, and other equipment to dredge and filter gold.
The district People's Committee has enacted many measures to tighten the management of minerals, such as the establishment of inter-sector inspection groups and increasing police force participation in this management.
In addition, the chairman of the communal People's Committee has assumed direct responsibility for illegal mining cases.
Ha added that a resident in Phu Binh Commune last March was fined VND70 million (over US$3,000) for having illegally mined minerals.
The department will continue to mobilise forces to tackle the recurrence of illegal mining, he said. —VNS