Myagdi’s copper mines lying unused, buried in forests
KATHMANDU: Copper mines detected in different areas of Myagdi district have been lying unused and buried in the forests. Some 17 big copper mines of Dhawalagiri, Malika and Raghuganga rural municipality and Beni municipality of the district have not come into resumption due to legal hassles and lack of modern equipment.
Local governments are losing revenue worth amounting to millions of rupees with the copper mines of Rumle hill in Raghuganga-6, Thadakhani village, Malkabange hill in Dhaulagiri-5, Malkabang, Okharbot in Malika rural municipality and Chinakhet hill in Beni-3 lying idle.
The Bishal copper mine here has also remained unused for long. Locals complained that the local and provincial governments have shown apathy towards bringing into resumption the copper mine of Rumle hill which was shut some 106 years back. Likewise, the copper mines of Malkabang which have been lying idle over the years are also being buried.
It may be noted that around 100 years ago locals used to excavate copper from the mines and manufactured the utensils for their daily use. There was no requirement to purchase utensils from outside.
The copper mines remained shut when the then government started levying tax to those involved in copper mine excavation. There are over a dozen copper mines in Malbang village. Excavating mines is the ancestral occupation of the Chhantyal caste.
“There are still tunnels that were used to excavate mines in the upper hills above the villages. There are several copper mines across the steep terrain. In lack of use the mines are buried in the soil”, said Dhalman Chhantyal, a local. He further said, “We do not have any option but to remain a mute spectators in lack of efforts to explore the treasure”.
Locals said that the legal hassles and lack of equipment were the main challenges in resuming the copper mines. It would not be a big trouble to bring back the mines if the government facilitated legal provisions and provided equipment used for excavation, said Tek Jeet Chhantyal, ward member of Raghuganga-6.
He said that the local residents have called for resuming the mines after carrying out necessary study and exploration. “We are deprived of using the natural resources available at our threshold”, said Himali Chhantyal, a local, adding, “If the mines here come into operation it would end the compulsion for youths to go abroad for employment and also generate huge revenues for the governments”. -RSS