Illegal gold mining in Quang Nam to be scourged hinh anh 1The Bong Mieu illegal gold mine in central Quang Nam province (Photo: VNA)

Quang Nam (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has asked authorities of the central province of Quang Nam to investigate reports of illegal gold exploitation in the Bong Mieu mine area.

He also asked inspectors of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to work with the authorities of the province and report the result to the Government this month.   

Nguyen The Vinh, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Tam Lanh commune, Phu Ninh district, said an average of 60 illegal gold exploiters flock to the area every day, some of whom are local residents and others mostly from northern provinces.

Despite efforts by local authorities and police to set up checkpoints, the influx has not stopped. The scavengers lived in camps, and when police show up, they run into the forest.

Bong Mieu Gold Company had been granted a licence for exploitation at the mine, however, the licence expired in March 2016 but the mine wasn’t handed over to local authorities.

The chairman warned that the mine area was a source of water pollution and ran a risk of tunnel collapse. 

A large amount of toxic chemicals were transported by illegal gold exploiters and then discharged directly into the surrounding environment, directly affecting the lives of local people, he said.

He added that the mine has 40 tunnel gates, but many tunnels have been unoccupied for a long time and were vulnerable to collapse.

"The current situation in Bong Mieu is very complex, local authorities face difficulty dealing with the issue,” the chairman said.

Nguyen Canh, Secretary of the Phu Ninh district Party Committee, said district authorities had discussed with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment how to retrieve the gold mine from the Bong Mieu Gold Company, but the problem hadn’t been resolved.

An official of the Quang Nam provincial People’s Committee said district and commune authorities are responsible for managing mineral resources and applying strict measures to ensure security, social order and safety.

He said Bong Mieu Gold Company should move all the explosive materials out of the mining area, then Tam Lanh commune authorities would control the operation of the mine and stop illegal exploitation at the area.-VNA