A junior high school principal in the north-central province of Nghe An has been disciplined for turning the yard into an illegal gold mine during summer vacation.
Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, principal of the Yen Tinh Junior High School in the province’s Tuong Duong District, was officially rebuked and reassigned to a remote mountainous school, District People’s Committee Chairman Trinh Minh Chau announced on Monday.
In late July, district authorities discovered that nearly the entire schoolyard had been excavated.
“While digging the well, we found gold ore and tried to expand our operation to find gold,” Tuan said.
However, the district Natural Resources and Environment Agency found he actually hired these workers to dig for gold from the beginning.
The district is home to a remarkable gold reserve. Last year, a man found 2.1 kg of raw gold in the bed of a stream.
The school drafted a plan to dig the well in April; Tuan enlisted his team of informal prospectors to excavate the schoolyard without seeking official approval for the plan.
Eight workers dug four holes, ten meters deep, in the schoolyard, leaving huge mounds of soil piled up around the building.
The workers installed poles to prevent collapse and eventually brought in pumps and digging machines to move huge quantities of ore into a panning area.
Tuan allowed these workers to stay in the school dorm after moving a number of boarding students into residents’ houses.
They remain in those homes pending the recovery of the school's yard and dorm.
Eight workers have also been fined.