|Miners dig for gold in Hamlet 3, Hồng Thuỷ Commune, the central Thừa Thiên-Huế Province. — Photo laodong.vn|
THỪA THIÊN- HUẾ — Although the Thừa Thiên-Huế Province People’s Committee announced it had cracked down on illegal gold mining along the upper part of the Đắkrông River in A Lưới District, the river water is still polluted, affecting people living downstream.
Lao động (Labour) newspaper on Wednesday reported that gold was still being mined illegally in the mountainous district on a much larger scale than reported by local authorities.
One gold mine is in Hamlet 3, Hồng Thuỷ Commune. The area consists of a hill, on which there are holes of depths up to tens of metres. Nearby is a reservoir used for gold panning.
Groups of local residents have been seen digging to find gold ore. They spoke to a reporter from Lao động newspaper, saying that when they found evidence of gold, they would dig a trench, bringing soil to pan at the reservoir or taking it home.
Muddy water from the gold mines flows into streams that run into the Đắkrông River.
Over the last two years, thousands of people living downstream in Quảng Trị Province have complained about the polluted river water, the newspaper reported earlier.
However, head of A Lưới District’s Natural Resources and Environment Department, Hồ Dũng, told the newspaper that between 2011 and 2017, Đông Trường Sơn Joint Stock Company was allowed to conduct gold exploration in the area.
When it finished the exploration, it did not carry out post-mining regeneration, he said, adding that some local residents were searching for gold in the area.
Another province official Trần Thị Hoài Trầm, Chief secretariat of Thừa Thiên-Huế Province People’s Committee Office said that about 10-15 people were mining gold in the area each day.
Trâm said that local authorities including police and border guards were working to stop the illegal gold mining. — VNS