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Vientiane [Laos], November 3 (ANI): A Gold mine run by Chinese owners has polluted the river water badly in Sekong province of Laos, killing fish and fouling water used by villagers for drinking.

"China's Lao Kaleum Gold Mining Project began operations last year and has polluted local water sources ever since it was launched," a resident from one of the affected areas informed Radio Free Asia on Tuesday.

"The gold mining takes place on higher ground, and the waste flows down to a reservoir," the villager added.

The villagers have been demanding the authorities to restore the river to its normal condition.

"The pollution has been affecting us since last year. We're hoping that the company is now trying to improve the waste system," another person from the Ateng region informed adding that "We residents of Ateng and Ka-Ouang villages are living in very difficult conditions."The company managing the mine has now built a running-water system using pipes to carry water down from the mountains to affected villages, Radio Free Asia reported.

"But the amount of water delivered is insufficient, the system is broken, and has been damaged by heavy rains and storms, a resident of Ka-Ouang said.

"To improve the flow of running water, the mining company and local authorities should monitor the waste reservoir and dumpsite, reduce the waste of chemical release, and restore the river to its normal condition," the person was quoted as saying by Radio Free Asia.

Meanwhile, weeks before the opening of China's bullet train project in Laos, villagers who lost land to the project also informed that they are still waiting for promised compensation.

The project is a part of Beijing's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative and is slated to open in the next 6 weeks but the villagers who were forced to forfeit land to the project are still waiting for compensation, a problem that has plagued many mega-projects in Laos, Radio Free Asia reported. (ANI)

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