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February 10, 2019

Official warns stakeholders to take safety measures in mining

Peshawar

February 10, 2019

ABBOTTABAD: Deputy Commissioner Amir Afaq has directed all stakeholders of the mines sector to take safety-related measures.

Chairing a meeting of the stakeholders of mining sector at his office here, which was attended by senior inspector of mines for Hazara, assistant director minerals development and all mining lease holders, he discussed the issues related to mining in Abbottabad.

He said the district administration had been facilitating the investors in mining sector but at the same time strict measures should be taken for the health and safety of mine workers and local community. The mining sector in Abbottabad is characterised by considerable variations in output over relatively short periods of time. Both growth and contraction trends in mining are unnatural, pointing to ad hoc extraction policies and haphazard inputs, rather than systematic planning, which would normally result in a degree of continuity and stability, with smaller variations in output over short periods.

Both underground and open-pit mining practices are employed in the district, but the techniques in use are crude and indiscriminate. Modern safety procedures, both for labour and the environment, are not followed. As a result, mining activities constitute a significant threat to the environment as well as to the health and safety of workers.

Environmental impact studies on mining operations are not conducted and laws governing mining practices are neither enforced nor followed. The effect on vegetation, flora and fauna, the landscape, surface and ground water, and the air, as well as workers’ health and safety represent the darker side of current mining practices in the district, and need to be redressed as much as the large variations in output.

The meeting discussed that scientific exploration and mining, particularly through public-private partnerships, can serve as an important alternative source of employment and income generation.

The participants said that if the work is carried out in compliance with international health and safety standards, and with due regard to environmental concerns, mining can become a valuable component of the district’s economy. It was told that the mineral sector has been playing important role in revenue generation and providing job opportunities to hundreds of people.

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