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Illegal gold mining still a headache in Phuoc Son District

Update: January, 15/2014 - 08:24
An illegal gold mine in Phuoc Son district in central Quang Nam Province. Five illegal gold mines have collapsed in the area since last April, killing 12 miners. — VNS Photo

QUANG NAM (VNS)— Three miners from northern Hoa Binh Province were killed when an illegal mine collapsed in the central Quang Nam Province's Phuoc Hiep Commune last Friday.

Illegal gold mining continues to be a problem in central Quang Nam Province's Phuoc Son district, despite the best efforts of authorities. Five gold mines collapsed since last April, killing 12 people.

"We have set up a patrol team of police and forest rangers for clearing illegal gold mines from the district. Two-thirds of illegal gold mines have been found since regular patrols began last year. However, some illegal mining still occurs in isolated jungle areas," said Hoang Hoa, chief of the secretariat of the district people's committee.

Illegal miners from other provinces flocked to the jungles to dig for gold, creating headaches for local authorities concerning security and environment pollution, according to Hoa.

Referring to the recent deaths, he said those miners had been part of a group of 10 that started digging three days after a patrol had checked the area. Police have been searching for their remains since Friday.

"It's still a challenge for us. We have raised many forces to clear illegal mines in recent years, but the situation is worse in remote areas," said Nguyen Vien, director of the provincial department of natural resources and environment.

"It's easier for hundreds of local people to mine for gold than for us to deploy forces across a large area of jungle and mountains."

Last year, hundreds of miners from Phuoc Son Gold Company under Besra Gold, a Canadian-Australian joint-venture corporation, were unemployed when the company's Bong Mieu plant closed.

The company owed approximately US$19 million to contractors, the bank and the government. — VNS

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