VietNamNet Bridge – Hundreds of local residents are rushing to look for gemstones in densely forested areas in the mountainous district of Thuong Xuan in Thanh Hoa province despite risks to their health.
Three men looking for gemstones on February 8 died when a tunnel collapsed at a stone pit in Xuan Le Commune in Thuong Xuan District. The accident occurred when they were trying to turn over the soil.
A local official said the forested land between Nghe An and Thanh Hoa provinces has attracted many illegal gemstone diggers over the last five years, but no one knows exactly how many people are going to Ty Mountain area to look for gems.
Some of them have luckily found crystal rocks and become rich. This has prompted local men, one after another, to give up farming and go to the forests for gemstones.
In the forest, they dig holes where they think gemstones are located, though they know their actions are harmful to the environment.
Many of the gemstone diggers spend a couple of weeks or an entire month in the forests.
If they find places that might contain gemstones, they live and sleep in tents and work hard looking for gems. In forests on towering mountains, men can be seen digging into the earth without any protective work equipment.
Vi Van Xinh, an experienced digger, said he and the other men in his group have no stable jobs and are willing to take risks.
Xinh and his group’s members are now considering moving to Que Phong District of Nghe An province, which borders the Ty Mountain area.
“There are no more gemstones in Xuan Le Commune,” he explained, adding that the crystal rocks found there are not valuable.
Vi Nguyen Huynh, chief secretariat of the Thuong Xuan district People’s Committee, admitted that the illegal stone exploitation has boomed over the last few years and that it was very difficult to stop the exploitation.
“It is very difficult to track down illegal exploiters in such vast forests full of obstacles and areas difficult to access,” he said.
“We have been trying to persuade local people not to risk their lives by going to the forests to look for gemstones. However, people keep doing this,” he said.
In 2013, Thuong Xuan District authorities had serious problems dealing with illegal gold diggers. The authorities had to finally resort to spraying pesticides into the gold-digging dens, and only then did the digging stop.
Đăng ký: VietNam News