This follows in the wake of substantial gold mining in the area in recent years. The mining has increasingly become a problem in the absence of state enforcement and as local management groups are fighting to gain control over their forests. When I was there last July, I frequently heard the refrain that the law protects what's above the soil but not what's under it.
|Artisanal gold-mining pits are rather small and though they may extend in a network over a square kilometer or more, the damage is far more localized than much larger open pit, organized sapphire mining. Photo © Sara Tolliver 2011|