150 police officers and soldiers from Binh Thuan Province surrounded and arrested 28 people engaged in illegal gold mining in the forests on Saturday.
The Binh Thuan Police Department reported that in the early hours of Saturday, officers and soldiers trekked nearly 10 kilometers into the forest and raided an illegal gold mine in the mountainous region of Phan Son Commune in Bac Binh District, which borders Lam Dong Province in the Central Highlands.
They caught 28 people sorting, washing, and processing heavy metals in an area of several thousand square meters.
Police confiscated numerous machines and vehicles used at the illegal mining site, including two pickup trucks, excavators, pumps, stone crushers, and tractors.
Several gold-colored metal samples and a large amount of chemicals used for gold ore processing were also found at the site.
In the mining area were temporary shelters for sleeping and a stockpile of food, enabling the group to stay for extended periods.
Illegal gold miners are under arrest in a shelter they built in the forests of Binh Thuan in central Vietnam, Dec. 9, 2023. Photo by Binh Thuan police
Police are expanding the investigation.
Illegal gold mining is an ongoing issue in various regions of the country, with different provinces struggling to control and mitigate the activity.
Various studies around the world have shown mining causes erosion, sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, contamination of the soil, groundwater and surface water, and a release of large amounts of toxic contaminants.
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