Sat. Dec 3rd, 2022

VietNamNet Bridge – The “gold dream” has cut tourist sites into small pieces,
damaged beautiful landscapes and polluted rivers in the gold land area in Quang
Nam province.

 

Vietnam, gold fever, pollution, land

Gold diggers damage land, rivers, forests, streams

The Bong Mieu gold mining area in Quang Nam province has become bustling again
since illegal gold diggers have “come back to work” after the long Tet holiday.

In order to arrive in the Kem Mountain and the Thac Trang – Ham Ho landscape
areas, one would have to wander up hill and down dale and travel on tough roads.
However, a lot of people were still seen flocking to the areas on a day in late
February 2013.

The men were seen driving motorbikes towards the Kem mountain area. The drivers
wore protective marks, carrying the tools to dig gold.

On the Bong Mieu river bank, some 50 motorbikes were seen lying about in the
bushes. If looking up at the towering cliff, one could see hundreds of tents at
the height of 300 meters. These were the tents raised by the illegal gold
diggers which served as their “accommodations” during the time they stay here.

A lot of engine saws worked continuously, and a lot of trees fell down to the
ground. A local resident said the illegal gold diggers tried to chop down trees
to get wood to install gold pits. It was always noisy in the forest with the
sounds from the saws, the borers and the guffaw of the gold diggers.

Some reporters decided to hide cameras and other instruments, trying to come
closer to the gold digging sites by disguising them as gold diggers. However,
the real gold diggers thought the reporters were the policemen and they ran
away.

At the site, the reporters could find tens of the vaults containing gold ores,
which, according to a local resident, would be grinded and put into the boxes.
After that, the gold diggers would use chemicals, mostly cyanua, to extract
gold.

Since the gold diggers ran away, the reporters, who feared they may be
discovered, decided to return to the Bong Mieu riverbank. It was late in the
afternoon. Some 10 men were seen carrying food to the gold digging sites on the
Kem Mountain to provide to the gold diggers there.

When coming to the Thac Trang – Ham Ho landscape area, the group of reporters
got surprised when seeing the stream that brings water from the upper area to
the Thac Trang has nearly been filled.

There was no water on the stream, but there was only mud and gold placers. The
lake at the Thac Trang – Ham Ho waterfall footing has turned into a swamp.

Is it impossible to stop illegal gold digging?

Bui Quang Minh, Chair of the Tam Lanh commune of Phu Ninh district, admitted
that the local authorities remain powerless in fighting against illegal gold
diggers, due to the limited workforce.

Minh estimated that up to 200 men were illegally exploiting gold in the Kem
Mountain and Thac Trang – Ham Ho area.

The most worrying thing for the local authorities is that the number of illegal
gold diggers has been increasing rapidly, since the gold price has been
increasing rapidly in recent years.

Gold digging has become a full time job for many households here. Meanwhile, a
lot of people from other localities have been flocking there to work as hired
workers at the digging sites.

Dan Viet

By vivian