VietNamNet Bridge – Not only damaging houses, breaking roads, cutting mountains
into small pieces and polluting the air and water resources, the mining in Yen
Bai province has made thousands of local households live in the fear that one
day, their remaining rice fields would be inundated in the mud.
Dinh Thi Luyen, 49, complained that it was very muddy which makes it
difficult to cultivate.
Mud inundates rice fields
Hung Thinh has been known as a fertile land which receives the great favors from
the nature. For the last many years, Hung Thinh has been serving as the biggest
rice granary of the whole district.
However, the rice fields here have been gradually inundated by thousands of tons
of rocks, earth, mud and waste from the mining complex.
Pham Van Kha, a local resident, recalled the day in 1975, when the southern
region of Vietnam was liberalized, he and his family members came to the Tran
Yen mountainous area to reclaim the virgin soil.
“We lived with hunger, with no clothes and houses. We even lacked water. But we
still worked hard and we have turned the deserted land into the fertile land
with green rice fields,” Kha said.
However, the efforts made by local residents over the last 40 years have become
in vain. Dinh Thi Luyen, 49, complained that it was very muddy which makes it
difficult to cultivate.
“In May and June, when floods rush in, the rice fields would be inundated with
the red earth, humus and waste which flows from the mineral exploitation site,”
she said, adding that the rice yield has become much lower than in previous
The farmer said that her family has five sao of land for cultivation (a sao =
360 square meters), but two sao have been left idle, because they have been
inundated with red mud. Since the cultivated land has been narrowed, Luyen and
her family members have to take a lot of different extra works to earn their
“My elder son has left for the south, while the younger son is a freelancer. My
husband is now a construction worker, while I would leave for Hanoi when
finishing the field works in the village,” she said.
Also according to Luyen, previously, the five sao of land brought at least 1.4
tons of rice every year. However, since the day the mining began, she can
harvest 600 kilos every crop. The income from the rice fields is not high enough
for her to cover the input costs, including the workforce and fertilizer.
100 hectares of rice fields may be lost
Dinh Van Truong, Head of the Kim Binh village’s police station, said it cost
local people a lot of time and efforts to dredge a canal with tens of kilometers
in length which allows to bring water to the rice fields. However, the canal
cannot fulfill its task any more, because it has been flooded with the waste.
“We not only lack water for agriculture production, the two clean water tanks
for people’s daily use have also been full of mud,” he complained.
The local residents feel worried about their future. They have been living on
the 100 hectares of rice fields for the last many years. However, the rice
fields may disappear in just three or four years because of the mining
activities, especially when the exploitation would begin at 11 other mines.