Ainak copper mine extraction can cause environmental pollution


KABUL (Pajhwok):  The excavation process of Ainak copper mine in central Logar province in a non-professional way would leave far-reaching negative impact on environment and affect lives of thousands of locals, environmental and mining experts warned.

If the Chinese company (China Metallurgical Group Corporation, CMGC),  that awarded the contract does not take strong measures for protecting the environment then it could cause serious problems for the residents living around the Ainak mine.

According to the website of Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, a big portion of copper was discovered back in 1974 close to Logar River in northeastern of Kabul city.  The primary geological survey about the mine was completed by Russian experts.

Based on the ministry’s information, as many as 13 companies from Canada, the US, Russia, China, North Korea, Australia, Iran, India and Kazakhstan showed their interests in investment in Ainak mine.

Sources said that the ministry’s committee tasked to oversee the project had selected nine out of 13 companies to work on the mine.

After evaluation of the suggestions in 2007, a Chinese company had been awarded as first position for extraction of the mine followed by a Canadian company.

The draft to award the Ainak mine to Chinese company was confirmed by President Hamid Karzai and council of ministers in 2008.

Due to some reasons, work on the mine has not started from the past six years despite the extraction contract was signed.  

However, some analysts believe if the extraction process continued in a non- professional way then it may cause severe problems to human lives and farms around Lugar and Kabul rivers that extended to Durand Line on border with Pakistan.

Lutfullah Safi, a teacher in Geology faculty at Kabul University, said: “I think this company is supposed to use coal for extracting copper. Coal produces carbon dioxide which causes environmental pollution.”

He warned if raw materials extracted along with copper mine and former could not be buried in a safe place then it could lead to water pollution problems.

The extraction of coppers produce some gases that seriously affects plants and humans lives, he added.

Eng. Ghulam Muhammad Malikyar, deputy technical minister for National Environment Protection Agency (NIPA), said that the Chinese company (MCC) had not devised a plan for protection of the environment and did not get a legal license from the NIPA so far.

When the company (MCC) submits its complete report to NIPA and then it is confirmed by the technical team of the agency, the company can start its excavation work on the mine, he added.

Javed Noorani, senior mining researcher, in his research last year said: “Copper extraction of Aainak mine produces sulfide and acid sulfuric gases, which cause serious harm to human health and farms.”

Based on research, the environmental pollution causes by Ainak mine can damage water, air and soil.

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