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Gold rush turns Vietnam forest into construction site

By Dac Thanh   July 6, 2022 | 05:13 pm PT
Bandits have set up camps and built tunnels to illegally extract gold inside a protection forest of Quang Nam Province.
Gold rush turns Vietnam forest into construction site

For around three months now, miners have rushed to the mountainous district of Phuoc Son in the central province to illegally extract gold.

Gold rush turns Vietnam forest into construction site

Miners set up tents and made a pond to pan for gold in a protected forest in Phuoc Son.

People living near the site said two Quang Nam residents had invested in machinery and hired locals to work at the mining site without permission.

Gold rush turns Vietnam forest into construction site

A tunnel that runs five meters deep at the mining site.

Gold rush turns Vietnam forest into construction site

A power generator and oxygen provider.

Gold rush turns Vietnam forest into construction site

A gold miner is seen filtering ore to remove excess mud.

Gold rush turns Vietnam forest into construction site

Ore is soaked in a combination of chemicals for several days to extract the gold.

Gold rush turns Vietnam forest into construction site

Not very far from the gold mine is another operating at a larger scale on top of a hill.

Miners have cut down trees and dug many tunnels into the mountain.

Gold rush turns Vietnam forest into construction site

The gold mining site seen from above.

Gold rush turns Vietnam forest into construction site

A tunnel is reinforced with tree trunks.

Gold rush turns Vietnam forest into construction site

A wooden track to transfer ore out of the tunnel.

Gold rush turns Vietnam forest into construction site

An area to process ore.

Gold rush turns Vietnam forest into construction site

Wastewater from the two gold mines flow into Nuoc Mat Stream in Phuoc Loc Commune.

Commune Chairman Luu Huyen Thoai told VnExpress last week that “authorities are not aware of the situation and will inspect later.”

Le Quang Trung, chairman of Phuoc Son District, said there is no unit or individual that is allowed to extract gold at the two sites.

On Tuesday, the district’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment collaborated with local police to take down camps and seize machinery from miners, but many people are of the idea that the measures are not strong enough as no miners have been arrested and charged.

A representative of the department said illegal gold mining has continued despite frequent crackdowns by local authorities.

The reason is that gold bandits often choose deep forests that are hard for functional forces to approach, facilitating their escape.

 
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