Saturday, 16 May 2009

Bhutan : NEC: Most mines do not meet terms and conditions of mine plan and the environment management plan

May 15: The National Environment Commission (NEC) says most of the mines do not meet terms and conditions specified in the mine plan and the environment management Plan. This was pointed out at a meeting between officials from the NEC and mine representatives. Officials from the Department of Geology and Mines also attended the two day meeting.

The meeting was held to present the findings of an inspection carried out by the NEC early this year.

It was found that almost all the mines do not have any provision for storing top soil. NEC says instead of displacing top soil downhill, it should be stored and preserved in separate location. It should be later spread over the mined area.

The restoration work is mainly focused on the construction of check dams only.

NEC says restoration activities should be extended to mined-out areas also.
Safety measures for workers at the mine sites were found to be poor. Workers were provided helmets only. NEC says the workers should be provided with other protective gears like gloves, face masks and protective shoes.

Lack of environmental safety awareness among the workers was cited as another short coming.

The environmental unit in the mining companies was found to be a mere formality and non-existent in some cases. NEC asked the mining companies to activate the environmental units immediately.

The Deputy Minister of environment Dasho Nado Rinchen said it is the responsibility of mining companies to ensure that the ill-effects are minimal.

The mining companies have been given a timeframe to implement the recommendations proposed by the NEC. The meeting also discussed the problems facing the mining companies.

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