Gold rush causes pollution concerns at abandoned Vietnamese mine

By Dac Thanh   May 25, 2017 | 03:31 pm GMT+7

Hundreds of people have been struck by gold fever in the central province of Quang Nam.

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The gold mine has been taken over by locals in Quang Nam Province a year after the Bong Mieu Gold Mining Company's license, owned by Canadian firm Besra, expired in March 2016.

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More than 100 people were seen digging for gold at the site on Wednesday, with machinery running 24/7.

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Some people have died or broken their arms and legs in landslides, according to a gold digger at the site.

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Many workers said they work for a “boss” who pays them VND200,000 ($9) per day. “Whenever the police come, we run,” one of them said.

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This rock looks like it has gold inside, according to the digger. The mine has a reserve of 12.4 tons, but the Canadian firm collected tons before its license expired.

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The workers said they have to dig deep and break rocks into pieces to find gold.

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Then they put the pieces into a grinder and use chemicals to filter the gold.

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The sluice box needs a lot of water, which is then discharged directly into local streams that run into a river and a reservoir.

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Authorities in Quang Nam said they have carried out raids and destroyed equipment, but business returns to normal after they leave. “We have run out of money to fund these raids,” an officer said.