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Officials argue for need to amend Water Code

The State Committee for Industry, Energy and Subsoil Use commented on the proposed amendments to the Water Code of the Kyrgyz Republic.

By its decision dated February 21, 2013, the Parliament ordered the Government to ensure the smooth operation of Kumtor project.

According to the department, at present the development of the Kumtor mine is carried out at the central site. Since the quarry is closely located to the glaciers, the side of the quarry is under constant pressure from the glacial mass of the southern and southeastern branches of the Davydov glacier, which causes the flood and deformation with the threat of collapse.

To unload the open pit side and prevent its collapse, mining operations are carried out (moving of deformed rock masses and ice sliding into the pit to safer places). In addition, the outline of the quarry in the south-west direction is expanding, as the contour of the ore body changes.

On the site of the southern arm of the Davydov glacier, a dredge is formed, a 90-meter-high stop prism for keeping the ice masses moving into the pit of the quarry. These issues were considered with the participation of independent experts at the expanded meeting of the Scientific and Technical Council of the State Agency for Geology and Mineral Resources.

Specialists stated: in the case of conservation of the quarry, a long-term stoppage of production at the mine is unavoidable. This can cause collapse of the sides of the central quarry and its flooding with water and glacial-moraine mass.

And this will make it much more difficult (or impossible) to resume work while developing the central section of Kumtor mine.

During the consideration of the bill in the parlaiment after a series of discussions for the third reading, the following edition of Article 62 on the protection of glaciers was made: «Activities affecting the acceleration of melting of glaciers, using coal, ash, oils or other substances or materials, as well as activities that may affect the condition of glaciers or the quality of the waters contained in them, and activities related to the procurement of ice, with the exception of the glaciers Davydov and Lysyi is prohibited.»

The amendments, which are planned to be introduced into the Water Code, allow the development of the deposit only on the sections of the Lysyi and Davydov glaciers.

Recall, the activists opposed the bill and held a rally yesterday.