MAC: Mines and Communities

Kazakhstan's MPs Toughen Ecology Laws For Miners

Published by MAC on 2011-10-31
Source: Planet Ark (2011-10-27)

Kazakhstan's MPs Toughen Ecology Laws For Miners

By Raushan Nurshayeva

Planet Ark

27 October 2011

Kazakhstan's parliament on Wednesday approved a strict ecology bill, in a move expected to make some of the world's leading metals miners spend more on treating their waste.

The bill, overwhelmingly backed by Kazakhstan's bicameral legislature, was sent to President Nursultan Nazarbayev for signing, Vladimir Nekhoroshev, a deputy of the lower Mazhilis chamber, told Reuters.

In September, when the bill was still being debated in parliament, Kazakh Ecology Minister Nurgali Ashim said the proposed amendments to the country's ecological legislation was a tougher approach.

"It had been proposed originally that we would only use fines if they (industrial enterprises) do not implement their (waste utilization) program," Ashim told Reuters at the time.

"Now we will use fines, and then (if a new violation occurs), we will shut down a facility for good. This is a much tougher approach."

In line with the new bill, mining companies are given a year to work out their own waste utilization programs, which later will have to be approved by the government.

"They will then have to abide by this program for 10 years," Ashim said.

"If this program is not respected, (the ecology ministry's) committee may entirely revoke its permit for waste emissions, which means a company's work will be halted."

Ashim told Reuters in an interview in March that the new law would have an impact on all companies that have mine tailings, in particular on Kazakhmys, Kazzinc and ENRC.

Kazakhmys is the world's 10th-largest copper miner, while Eurasian Natural Resources Corp is the world's largest ferrochrome producer and a major producer of iron ore, alumina and aluminum. Both companies are listed in London.

Glencore-controlled Kazzinc, formed in 1997 by the merger of three lead and zinc plants, is the largest zinc producer in the former Soviet Union. It also mines precious metals and copper.

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