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Relevant committee supports bill banning uranium mining in Kyrgyzstan

Members of the Committee on Agrarian Policy, Water Resources, Ecology and Regional Development of the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan adopted in first reading a bill banning uranium mining in Kyrgyzstan.

The document was initiated by Altynbek Sulaimanov, Almambet Shykmamatov, Kanat Kerezbekov, Myktybek Abdyldaev, Baktybek Turusbekov, Dastan Bekeshev and Altynbek Zhunus uulu.

According to Almambet Shykmamatov, the dangerous uranium legacy sites in the republic include tailings in Mailuu-Suu, Aidarken, Orlovka, Kadzhi-Sai and Min-Kush.

«Over the years of development of uranium deposits, a huge amount of radioactive waste has accumulated in the country. Over 145 million tons of radioactive waste of uranium production are stored in tailings. Almost all tailing dumps are seriously damaged due to the lack of supervision over such territories,» the deputy said.

He added that the republic did not have the ability to independently neutralize the tailings. It has no money. Almambet Shykmamatov stressed that Kyrgyzstan should preserve its status of an ecologically clean country without extraction of radioactive minerals.

«The main focus in the state economy should be such sectors as agriculture, services (tourism), and industry. Mining of uranium in the future can negate the efforts to develop all other sectors of the economy, since other countries may refuse to buy any products from the Kyrgyz Republic. It can also lead to a decrease in tourism potential,» he stressed.

As a result, parliament members agreed with the arguments of the authors and supported the document.

YurAsia Company was going to develop Tash-Bulak deposit of Kyzyl-Ompol group of uranium-thorianite placers. It was planned to process uranium at Kara-Balta mining plant. However, Kyrgyzstanis are categorically against the project. Protests against the development of the field took place in Bishkek and Balykchi.

The company’s license for exploration of the deposit was temporarily suspended. Deputies of the Parliament have instructed the Government to ban the search, exploration and development of uranium deposits in Kyrgyzstan. The Cabinet of Ministers finally passed the ruling banning work on licensed areas provided for geological study and development of radioactive elements — uranium.