The use of chemical substances in illegal gold mining was threatening the health of about 200 families in Battambang province’s Phnom Proek district, where animals have reportedly died as a result of drinking contaminated water, officials said yesterday.
Chhom Maly, chief
of Phnom Peh village in Phnom Proek commune, claimed that illegal miners
who rented land from residents to mine had been operating at about 30
locations in the village since early this year.
He said a 3m by
4m pool had been built at each site to process gold ore using chemicals,
and that the water from these pools was poured into a canal.
and cows have died this year after drinking the water in the canal,”
Chhom Maly said. “It has not caused any serious heath problems for
people yet, but I believe it will in the future.”
Ath, 64, said he lived about 15 metres from one of the pools and his
family had suffered from dizziness, headaches and vomiting as a result
of the fumes. He added that recently his dog had died after drinking
from the pool.
District governor Suon Kroeun confirmed that
officials from the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy had recently
visited the area and told the miners not to contaminate the canal.
“When I looked around, I saw that mercury chemicals are used by those mining businesses,” he said.
deputy governor Sieng Sothong said the mining was difficult to control
because miners were co-operating with local landowners, but that the
Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy would create a committee to
Source: Phnom Pen Post