Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Wanbao cannot manage waste from Letpadaungtaung project: ESIA

Myanmar Wanbao Mining Copper Limited (MWMCL), which runs the controversial Letpadaungtaung copper mine project, has no ability to clear up a huge amount of waste being generated during the project’s lifetime, according to the Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) submitted by Knight PiĆ©sold Consulting.

“The company has no ability to manage that. And would the government manage it? Myanmar’s ministries, such as mining and environmental preservation, have no capacity to do so. How will we face a danger that’s too big for the government and the company to manage?,” said Win Myo Thu from Eco-Dev.

Among the key impacts of the controversial project, acid and metals generation arising from waste rock have posed extremely high environmental risks to surface and groundwater in the area, the assessment said.

The project has an estimated mineral resource of approximately 1 billion tonnes with a strip ratio of 0.99, resulting in approximately 1 billion tonnes of waste being generated over the proposed 30-year mine life, it said.

Although the largest volume of this material is stored in waste rock dumps, waste rock will also be placed in the pit. The ore is also acid generating and metal leaching, creating a significant management issue post closure.

Failure to heed these requirements, from commencement of construction through operation and closure of these facilities, will leave a residual risk and legacy beyond closure of the operation.

Testing the geochemistry of the rock that will form the waste rock dumps indicated that 71 percent of samples tested were potentially acid forming. Of the balance of samples tested, approximately 18 percent had the potential to leach metals to levels beyond water quality limits. The extent of metal leaching increases as the acidity of the water increases.

source: Eleven Myanmar
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