Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

VietNamNet Bridge – Illegal gold digging has been devastating the ecosystem,
because cyanide, the toxic substance used during the digging, may poison the
living environment.

Vietnam, gold rush, environment, pollution, local authorities

Bai Chay, Ho Bua, Ho Son areas in Tien Phuoc district of Quang Nam province have
become the new targeted areas for gold diggers.

Suoi Dua village is about seven kilometers far from the Tien Tho T-junction, to
which one can easily go by car or motorbike. However, it would be more difficult
to go further from Suoi Dua, because the stretch of road there is now full of
potholes, created by the heavy trucks carrying acacia and ore running in and out
every day.

A lot of notice boards “Mining area. No entry” were seen hung over the road to
Bai Chay. However, there were only several tents left alone in the middle of the
forest. There were 5-7 people were sitting smoking and chatting in the house the
Duc Loc company installed for its workers.

It was abnormally quiet in the mining area of the company. Thanh, a worker from
Ha Tinh province, introduced himself as the security guard in the site. “I
receive a pay of VND4 million a month just to look after the assets of the
company and prevent illegal gold diggers from entering the area. However, it is
really very difficult to prevent the cruel men from intruding our area,” Thanh
said.

Following the tracks left by the vehicles on the roads, Thanh led the reporters
to the Ho Son area in Tien Lap commune. This was the place where Duc Loc
exploited gold, but the exploitation license has got expired.

A group of some 10 people were seen digging, excavating the earth, creating a
pit with the depth of 10 meters. On the site, there were mosquito nets, clothes,
food, and water in the volumes big enough to serve long lasting gold digging
campaign.

One of the diggers, who thought they met the workers from Huu Loc company, said:
“Let us dig here to look for gold. If we find gold, we will give pigs and
chickens in reward.”

“We just try to look for some gold ore left by your company. We don’t intend to
encroach on your territory,” the man continued.

Though the men just “tried to look for some gold ore left which is not highly
valuable,” they have caused a serious devastation to the environment. The gold
digging areas were located between the natural forest and the plantation
forests. Since illegal gold diggers did not follow necessary steps while digging
the earth, they left deep holes in the lands, really dangerous to people. A lot
of hills have been cut into small pieces, which local people say look like a
“battlefield.”

Local people said illegal gold diggers have flocked to the locality for the last
two weeks. They might have heard that gold was found in big quantity in the
area. Especially, many of them paid money to residents to buy the “right to look
for gold” in the land.

Nguyen Van Bang, Deputy Chair of the Tien Lap commune people’s committee, when
asked what the local authorities have done to stop the illegal gold
exploitation, said that it’s impossible to settle the problem to the every root.

He said the young people in the locality have been earning their living on
digging gold, and they would not give up the job which can feed them.

Bang said that the local authorities do not worry much about the social evils to
be caused by the illegal gold digging, but they fear that the gold digging would
destroy the ecological environment here, because cyanide, the toxic substance
used during the digging, may poison the living environment.

Thien Nhien

By vivian