President of Viet Nam National Museum of Nature's Science Council Pham Van Luc told Viet Nam News Agency about the illegal mining and smuggling of ancient carved stones which date back hundreds of years.
It has been said that the illegal exploitation of ancient and precious stones is occuring in many provinces. Why is this a problem?
Illegal exploitation may cause us to run out of semi-precious stones. Some types are already hard to find. Miners ignore regulation and use heavy machinery to push roads through protected forests in provinces of Binh Thuan, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Nghe An and Yen Bai to illegally transport the stones.
Also, conflict among miners is causing public disorder and farmers and students are flocking to mine for semi-precious stones instead of cultivating rice and studying at school.
The high value of ancient stones and semi-precious stones is the reason. People are willing to illegally exploit ancient stones and sell them, not only on the domestic market but also to foreign collectors.
Semi-precious stones, especially, quartz, are being smuggled into European countries, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand in large amounts.
Poor management of authorised agencies is to blame for the situation.
What should authorities do to resolve this state of affairs?
They say that mining often takes place in remote areas which are hard to find and inspect. It is time for authorities, conservation organisations and residents to join hands to bring the situation under control.
Stronger fines are needed, plus there is a need for an impact report to help the State formulate a strategy to control the exploitation and use of the stones and to develop a national industry.
What does the Viet Nam National Museum of Nature do to protect the ancient stones?
The museum has encouraged schools to send their students to the museum to raise awareness of the importance of protecting ancient, precious and semi-precious stones.
The museum is now a home of more than 30,000 examples, including 1,000 precious and semi-precious stones that are no longer found in nature.
Under a draft decree of the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment, people will receive a fine of VND600 million-2 billion (US$30,000- 100,000) for illegal minining or smuggling gold, precious stones and minerals. — VNS