VietNamNet Bridge –Mineral thieves are destroying the forest cover in mineral–rich Phia Oac-Phia Den in the northern mountain province of Cao Bang, says a probing report from Viet Nam News Agency.
The thieves use explosives to get at the deposits of wolfram. This has wiped out hundreds of hectares of forest, including many ancient trees.
However, there was no sight of any officers from relevant agencies around any mines visited, even some of those just metres from the highway.
Officers at one station for television transmission on Phia Oac peak said that every day they heard ear-splitting explosions.
One miner, who came from Thai Nguyen Province, said: "The business is not really good now because mines are becoming exhausted."
This man, who leads a group of 10 workers, said: "We keep a person on patrol to keep us informed about any visit by the police. When they arrive at the mines, they only see rocks and tree roots."
Viet Nam News Agency correspondent in Cao Bang Province tried to contact local authorities many times but they consistently declined to comment.
Phia Oac-Phia Den Forest, covering an area of 10,000ha, holds big deposits of metal ore containing wolfram, gold, tin and iron.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News