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Rumours spark mini gold rush in Preah Vihear

A woman pans for gold in Preah Vihear province's Rovieng district last year.
A woman pans for gold in Preah Vihear province's Rovieng district last year. Heng Chivoan

Rumours spark mini gold rush in Preah Vihear

Hundreds of hopeful prospectors chasing rumours of a gold rush in Preah Vihear province’s Rovieng district have ended up empty-handed.

According to Rom Tom’s commune chief, Prak Than, the gold hunters from nearby villages began descending on Rom Deng village on March 24, digging into the side of the mountain and taking the soil home to check for the precious metal.

“But I never saw anyone find anything. I just saw that they spent petrol, food and time,” he said yesterday. “Now, most of them have stopped and they feel disappointed.”

He said local authorities had asked the villagers to stop as the side of the mountain appeared increasingly unstable.

Than said he had not seen or heard of the single large find that fuelled the excitement. He described it as “just rumours” and said it was common from year to year for villagers to come en masse on the back of hearsay.

Ek Saro, Rovieng district chief, said villagers often dug in the area during their free time. “Some find a little gold, some are not lucky, but they continue as it is their tradition,” he said.

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