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Quang Nam suffers effects of illegal gold exploitation

Update: August, 11/2014 - 08:50
llegal gold mining has plagued Tam Lanh commune in the central province of Quang Nam for many years, affecting local resident's living conditions, while also threatening the environment.— Photo nguoiduatin

QUANG NAM (VNS) — Illegal gold mining has plagued Tam Lanh commune in the central province of Quang Nam for many years, affecting local resident's living conditions, while also threatening the environment.

The commune, covering 7,000 ha, has attracted many illegal miners who expected to become wealthy from their mining for gold.

However, no changes in the miners' lives have been seen, though the results of the illegal gold mining are easily seen, says Chairman of the commune's People's Committee, Bui Quang Minh.

Deadly accidents have occurred when mines collapsed and many local residents have used toxic chemicals, such as mercury, while sifting for gold in their homes, he says.

Also, some local residents have brought waste from gold mining companies into their homes, as they sift for any residual gold.

But these residents do not know that the use of toxic chemicals to sift for gold not only damages their health, but waste water from gold mines has polluted the environment.

Further, head of the provincial Environment Police Office Van Thai Viet says illegal gold mining and the use of toxic chemicals has not only caused environmental pollution, but also contributed to public disorder.

Local authorities regularly conducted raids to crack down on illegal gold mining, but new mines appeared after old mines were closed.

Since the beginning of this year, local police destroyed hundreds of tents set up by illegal gold miners and seized chemical containers and equipment used for gold mining.

In order to completely eliminate illegal gold mining in the commune, local authorities will strictly punish violators, Viet says. Apart from administrative punishments, violators will have all tools and materials used for gold mining seized and destroyed.

He also proposes local authorities create conditions for gold miners to seek employment, to encourage them to stop mining.

In May this year, two people died after a gold mine collapsed in the province's Nam Giang District. — VNS

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