VietNamNet Bridge – Hundreds of people have been flocking to the Cu Klong commune in Krong Nang district of the central province of Dak Lak these days to look for sapphire and quartz crystals they believe are under the earth in the forests.


Gemstones glitter in the forests

The gemstone mining sites on the Ia Kul and Ia Bal streams nestle in an area behind the high mountains and dense trees. One would have to follow winding steep hills and a tough road to reach there.

However, the mining sites are always full of people. MVS, a local resident, said there are four gemstone exploitation sites in the ward No. 300 which gather some 400 people.

On the way to Ea Tul stream, one would see a lot of other mining sites along the banks of the stream, which have created the deep holes and clear cracks on the side.

In order to find gemstones, people have been trying to dig in the earth everywhere they can. The big rocks under the earth have been excavated, which have blocked the stream flow. A lot of big trees have been cut, lying across the stream.

Tens of people were seen zealously digging the earth’s surface divided in different plots. The people said that they are the local residents who have just come there and that the deep holes were there before they came.

The same situation was seen on the gemstone mining areas in the upper course of Ia Bal, about 8.6 kilometers far away from Cu Klong commune’s center. A lot of tents installed with steel frame and sheet metal roofs have been set up, which shows that the miners planned to stay there for a long time. They have also brought some machines to serve the sapphire and quartz exploitation.

The dream of getting rich

Hearing that some precious stones worth hundreds of millions of dong were found in Dak Lak, a lot of people from Hai Phong, Thanh Hoa and Nghe An provinces have been flocking there, living in the forest, standing the cold and hunger, and cherishing the hope of getting rich.

When they find gemstones, they would bring them to Dlie Ya Market to sell for money. According to TVH, a man from Nghe An province, at first gemstone buyers paid VND10 million per kilo, but they then lowered to VND3 million or VND1 million.

However, the people don’t know how long it takes to earn VND1 million. With the manual digging, they can only find the stones as small as seeds.

Planting trees or exploiting stones?

According to the Krong Nang district authorities, the stone exploitation sites are located in the land area assigned by the Dak Lak provincial authorities to Truong Son Cooperative for the afforestation.

Nguyen Thi Mon, Chair of the Truong Son Cooperative, said the cooperative has signed the contracts on planting trees and protecting the forest. However, the people have not planted trees as promised, but have been trying to look for gemstones.

According to Nguyen Ky, Deputy Chair of Krong Nang district people’s committee, the 303 hectares of forestry land in the ward No. 300 would be taken back from Truong Son because the land has been used for wrong purposes.

Thien Nhien