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Prospectors move in on illegal gold mining operation

Update: August, 21/2014 - 09:19
Illegal miners swamped the area, creating widespread destruction of roads and forests and have left the area heavily polluted.

DA NANG  (VNS) — Rumours that a 16 kilogramme nugget of gold had been found at a disused mine sparked a gold rush in Hoa Vang district in the central city.

Illegal miners swamped the area, creating widespread destruction of roads and forests and have left the area heavily polluted.

The danger of tunnels collapsing when it rains has added to the havoc.

The illegal mining has polluted water resources in the area and destroyed forest and the environment.

Da Nang city authorities have now ordered the city's military command and relevant agencies to set up control in the area from this week.

Despite efforts by police, local people joined illegal miners stealthily digging into the earth at Khe Duong mine in the mountainous district, 50km south of the city.

The miners carted in a huge number of generators, grinding machines and other equipment to search for the precious metal.

Chairman of Hoa Bac commune, Ho Tang Phuc, said that in a 10 day operation last month, police, rangers and militia forces destroyed six tents, four tunnels, four grinding and air compressors and 300m of water pipe.

"The rumour about the 16kg gold nugget sent an estimated 300 people scurrying to the area," Phuc said.

"We deployed forces to create order, but people from 50 local communes in Thanh Hoa and Nghe An still managed to sneak in.

The illegal mining has polluted water resources in the area and destroyed forest and the environment.— Photos giaoduc.net.vn

"We positioned forces along paths into the forest to stop local people approaching the area, but we did not have enough men to completely close off the area.

"They (illegal miners) approached the mines at night and we were unable to pursue them."

Head of Hoa Vang district police office, Colonel Nguyen Van Bon, said illegal miners were persuaded to take their equipment and leave the area, but they returned a few days later.

The gold mine was developed by Ha Noi-based Truong Son limited company in 2007 and its licence expired in January following a decision by the central city's people's committee.

The decision also required the company to refill and replant 22ha of forest in the area, but the company left without apparently doing any work.

In June, the city assigned the Bong Sen Vang (Golden Lotus) company to manage the mine and plant trees in the area.

According to a staff member of the company, the transfer of management was delayed as it had to wait for approval from the Ministry of Resources and Environment.

This opened a window of opportunity for local people to try and get rich quick. — VNS


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