It�s all made of gold
Visitors on the way to Bong Mieu Goldmine in the
province of Quang Nam
people, the idea of visiting a gold mine to see real gold would be almost
unimaginable, almost dreamy, since they are buried deep underground, preciously
hidden far away from the general public. However, Bong Mieu Goldmine is
different, as the local authorities have decided to tap the tourist potential
for those wanting to explore the land of gold.
Goldmine is in Tam Lanh Commune, Phu Ninh District in the central province of
Quang Nam, some 35 kilometers southwest of Tam Ky Town, not far from Hoi An
the lost tribes of the Incas in south America, gold was first discovered and
exploited several hundreds years ago, but for mysterious reasons buried, like
the gold itself, in the depths of time, mining stopped a long time ago. Then, in
the 14th century Bong Mieu mine was reawakened and gold production restarted.
onto the 15th century, the Nguyen Dynasty kings decided that gold was once again
precious and so sought after, and reopened Bong Mieu, helping the region once
again become a prosperous place. However, it was the French who realized the
enormity of the value of the precious metal and who first started large scale
exploration for the yellow metal in a large scale and professional way that
enabled economically productive quantities to be recovered. Since then, Bong
Mieu Goldmine�s reputation has spread far and wide and well beyond the national
to make gold exploration a viable commercial activity, the French formed a
company and built a dedicated road to link Tam Ky to Bong Mieu in 1890�s. And it
would seem to have been a good investment, since according to historical
statistics going to the end of 1939, the French exploited over 2,000 kilograms
of gold from Bong Mieu.
lives on and if one visits the mine, you can still see the remains of the
original French factory works and offices, although time has naturally taken its
toll on the condition of buildings, which none-the-less remain robustly intact
and in reasonable condition.
are shown around and after having been introduced to an historical overview to
the region, are guided underground for a peak at the bright shiny stuff. There
are some 40 underground trenches that are around 18 kilometers in length built
by the French, that still survive despite the ravages of time and tide.
entering into the tunnels, visitors generally feel a mixture of curiosity and
anxiety. But this dissipates as the shafts have since been equipped with safety
facilities and the guides are well trained. Then it is off for a jaunt around
the factory where the alchemists work their magic � but no touching!
Goldmine covers 35 kilometers and is divided into four sections comprising Nui
Kem (Kem Mountain), Thac Trang (White Waterfall), Ho Ray (Ray Lake) and Ho Gan (Gan
Lake), so it can easily take all day to cover the entire goldmine. Therefore,
visitors are usually only shown around the better, most interesting parts.
the factory is the most interesting place for most visitors, although
unfortunately for security reasons, visitors are not allowed into the gold
production area since, just like in any gold production factory anywhere in the
world, there is always an �inviolable section�, unless perhaps they offer to
a journey to the �Land of Gold� will certainly make an indelible impression on
visitors. And quite apart from the goldmine, there is also the wonderful fresh
air and exercise as well as the many gorgeous landscapes of the region to enjoy.
realizing the potential for tourist development of the area, the Quang Nam
Service of Tourism has recently teamed up with some local Phu Ninh District
tourist agents to better exploit the service sector angle in addition to the
well recognized industrial sector potential, which if forthcoming could see the
mine become an attractive addition to the province�s usual My Son, Hoi An
tourist circuit in the near future.