Vietnamese media has reported that a tailings pond at a gold mine in Tam Lanh Town, Quang Nam Province had breached its banks, releasing pollutants into a nearby river, contaminating the water and killing fish.
|The Bong Mieu mine. Image ©Besra|
The Bong Mieu gold mine spans thousands of square meters and lies next to the Que Phuong River. Formerly owned by the Canadian mining company Besra, which divested its Vietnamese interests in April 2017 for assumption of existing trade creditor, tax and remediation liabilities totalling over US$25million, was taken over by 6666 Mineral Industry Joint Stock Company.
The spill has prompted protests from local people who are demanding immediate action.
As quoted in VN Express, Nguyen The Vinh, chairman of Tam Lanh’s People’s Committee, said that local authorities are working with the company, requesting that it shuts operations until the problem is resolved.
According to 6666 Mineral Industry’s reports, the breach was located and sandbagged.
According to Yu-Pin Lin, an academic editor for the U.S. National Library of Medicine, mining can lead to the generation of large quantities of heavy metal laden waste. If not processed correctly, it can be released in an uncontrolled manner, potentially causing widespread contamination of the ecosystem.
Over its operational history, the Bong Mieu gold mine has been plagued by a myriad of issues including licensing problems, tax debts and non-compliance with requests to close operations.