Illegal gold mining prevalent in some areas of Quang Nam Province

Over the past few days, many people have blatantly organized illegal gold mining in the Tam Lanh Commune of Quang Nam Province’s Phu Ninh District.

A corner of Thac Trang site

Even after being raided by the authorities, an illegal gold mining site still operated just a few hundred meters from the local police station.

Blatantly mining gold

From local people's information, the trail to the scenic Thac Trang (White Waterfall) relic was being destroyed by illegal gold miners

The gold field is an area of land of about 500 square meters, only a few dozen meters from the trail. Seeing the shadow of a stranger, the group of gold miners quickly sought a place to hide.

In this area, acacia hills have been dug up, forming deep holes while soil and rock are broken down into small pieces and transported to be soaked with chemicals in very new tarpaulin-covered tanks. In some tanks, the water pipes from the elevated soaking tanks are still flowing, and in some places, chemicals are still bubbling up from the bottom with a very unpleasant smell. In a camp of gold miners, pots, kettles, hammocks, batteries and light bulbs for working at night were seen.

The local patrolling police force said that the illegal gold miners had just discovered the authorities and immediately hid.

In the Thac Trang area, the ground in the area was rough, and land and rock were piled up, the scale of this area shows that it has been in operation for a long time but no people are seen.

Bulldozers and trucks are brought to the mine to make illegal gold

A gold miner revealed that in the White Waterfall area, there are a number of groups bringing bulldozers and trucks in to mine gold. Made by machine, a lot of gold can be made; for instance, 100 cubic meters of gold-containing soil and rock can produce 1-2 bars of gold.

These groups have hired and assigned guards who will take the bulldozers and machinery to hide away when they discover authorities in the mine area.

Chairman Nguyen Van Su of the People's Committee in Tam Lanh Commune said that illegal gold mining in Bong Mieu is a persistent problem in the locality, especially after the contract of this gold mine expired but could not be closed due to the bankruptcy of the enterprise. This area is partly managed by the locality and is partly cultivated land of local inhabitants.

Commune and district authorities regularly carry out raids in the mines but it is difficult to detect due to the large area. The illegal gold miners fled away from the mine quickly and immediately returned to activity later.

In early 2023, the police force set up a checkpoint at Ho Ray aiming to block the only road to Thac Trang. When motor vehicles such as excavators or trucks want to enter this area, vehicle owners must register with the locality for what purpose they are entering, and where the operating area is. Since then, this area has gradually been controlled.

However, at the end of 2023, when the Provincial People's Committee closed the Bong Mieu mine, the district police proposed to remove the checkpoint in Ho Ray to assist the forces in the mine area. Therefore, gangsters became more active again in Thac Trang area. There are currently nine groups of people bringing many motorized vehicles such as excavators and trucks into the area to process gold on a large scale, said the Chairman of Tam Lanh Commune People's Committee.

The People's Committee of Tam Lanh Commune has proposed that the People's Committee of Phu Ninh District should re-open a checkpoint in the Ho Ray area to control the situation and vehicles entering the area of illegal gold mining and processing activities. Police officers in Phu Ninh District should increase inspections to deter people from taking part in illegal gold mining.

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