A big hill was dug up. Thousands of tons of rare earth ore in Dong Bao village in Tam Duong district of the northern province of Lai Chau disappeared.
The Dong Pao rare earth mine is the largest of its kind in Vietnam at present. The mine covers 11sq.km, with reserves of over 5 million tons of ore.
The Lai Chau Rare Earth JS Company and the Dong Pao-Japan Rare Earth Development Company recently signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the mine.
While the two firms are compiling an exploration project, which targets to process around 10,000 tons of products/year, local people are rampantly exploring ore to sell to ore traders in Ban Giang and San Thang communes. The ore is then exported to China via the border.
Though the mine is only 7km from the office of the Ban Hon commune People’s Committee, local people publicly exploit ore.
Around 100 motorbikes and hundreds of people illegally exploit ore and they transport ore by motorbikes, running through the office of the local authorities. They earn VND5,000 ($0.25) for one kilo of ore. Each motorbike carries around 200kg of ore on average, earning VND1 million ($50). Earning money quite easily, more people have joined this illegal operation, causing disorder in the region.
The authorities of Tam Duong District set a commanding position on the road to the mine but it fails to prevent illegal mining activities.
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