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January 19, 2022, 3:25 am

Quang Nam province: local authorities yielding to gold miners

(13:15:37 PM 16/01/2014)
( - The great efforts by the Quang Nam provincial authorities to stop the illegal gold mining have just brought modest effects. More gold diggers have died, while the environment has got seriously polluted.


On January 10, 2014, a gold pit collapse occurred in Phuoc Hiep commune of Phuoc Son district in the central province of Quang Nam province, killing three gold diggers from Hoa Binh province.


On January 13 during the afternoon, Lieutenant Colonel Le Van Hong from the Quang Nam provincial Police confirmed that the three dead bodies had not been found. As it was raining heavily on those days, it was very difficult to look for the dead bodies at the site, located deep in the mountain.


There were 10 people in the group of gold diggers. The other seven narrowly escaped death in the pit collapse case.


According to Nguyen Thi Bich Xinh, Chair of Phuoc Hiep Commune People’s Committee, competent agencies have been organizing a lot of raid campaigns recently to expel illegal gold diggers from the Bai Cao area.


“The agencies’ staff had been searching for illegal diggers for three days and only left the site on the morning of January 10. The accident occurred on the evening of the same day,” she said.


At least five gold pit collapse cases have been reported since April 2013, which have killed 13.


Nguyen Vien, Director of the Quang Nam provincial Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, said the illegal gold mining in the locality has seriously damaged the environment and caused big death tolls.


“The provincial forest rangers’ unit has been requested to clear illegal mining sites and dislodged illegal differs. Meanwhile, settling the problem to the every root remains a difficult question to be solved,” Vien said.


After a short period of interruption, the gold illegal mining in Phu Ninh district of Quang Nam province has also boomed again.


According to Tam Lanh commune’s Chair Bui Quang Minh, the Bong Mieu Gold Mining Company Ltd, a subsidiary of Besra Group has halted its exploitation. Therefore, illegal gold diggers have penetrated into the area to find ores and damage equipments.


Also according to Minh, a lot of the 700 gold workers who have lost their jobs have gathered in small groups to go to the mountains to explore gold illegally.


“During a recent raid campaign, we found the water level rise in the pits, which have halted operation. Everything here has been damaged severely, thus causing high possibility of collapse,” Minh said.


“However, illegal gold diggers still tried to look for gold in the pits, ignoring the high risks they are facing,” he added.


He went on to say that it is necessary to draw up a long term plan to help redundant workers find jobs to prevent them from illegally digging gold. If not, they would continue trying to dig for gold.


However, Minh admitted that the idea cannot help. “We have been trying to persuade them not to dig gold illegally any more. We have invited them to work for the project on building a road in the commune. But none of them wants to take this job,” he said.

Thien Nhien

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