Viet Nam News
PHÚ YÊN — For the last two months, people have been flocking to the Sông Hinh Hydropower plant’s reservoir in the central province of Phú Yên to find black stones, worth VNĐ4 million per kilo.
The reservoir is currently drying, which allows people to search and dig for the stones in the semi–submerged area.
Vice chairman of Sông Hinh District People’s Committee Ksor Y Phun said that a few years ago, the mining and trading of black stones emerged in the localities on a small scale, but in the last two months, the activities resurfaced at a significantly larger scale because the stones can now be sold at much higher prices.
Phun said local authorities had not identified why wholesalers so desperately wanted to buy the stones and for what purpose.
“Such black stone is a kind of natural mineral, the exploitation of which must be managed,” Phun said, adding that crowds flocking to the area could possibly threaten social order and security.
Now, stone mining activities are mostly done at semi-submerged areas in three communes of Đức Bình Đông, Ea Trol and Sông Hinh.
He said that local authorities urged people not to gather, nor continue digging for the black stones.
A kilo of this black stones could be sold for up to VNĐ4 million. — VNA/VNS Photo Thế Lập
Trần Thị Bông, a local in Ea Bia Commune, Sông Hinh District said last year, scrap vendors would pay VNĐ 50,000 for a kilo of black stone but since last month, wholesalers from Tuy Hòa City were willing to pay millions of Vietnamese đồng for a kilo of stone.
“I don’t know what they buy the stones for,” she said.
A kilo of three big stones is sold for VNĐ3 million (US$128). The smaller stones are sold for VNĐ1 million for a kilo of eight stones and the smallest ones are sold for VNĐ300,000 to VNĐ400,000.
Another local Dương Nho Hùng, from Ea Bia Commune, Sông Hinh District told Vietnam News Agency that three members in his family had been digging in the reservoir for about a month.
“As we have no farming work to do at this time, we go to find black stones to earn extra money,” Hùng said.
With simple tools like hoes, shovels, and crowbars, some people could already get hold of the stones after digging a few layers of soil while others dig deeper and deeper.
Hùng said people in Sông Hinh District and other neighbouring districts of Sơn Hòa, Tây Hòa and Đông Hòa rushed to the area, expecting to earn money.
“We don’t have much time because the rainy season begins next month and the reservoir will be filled with water, thus the mining will no longer be possible,” Hùng said.
Some people have even set up tents in the mining area. — VNS