6 Dec, Beni, Myagdi : The iron and copper mines in the Myagdi district are beginning to be covered with soil and silt due to disuse.
The mines at Takam, Gurja, Kuine, Okharbot among other places in Annapurna and Malika rural municipalities have become derelict and sand and soil has started depositing. Only the slate mines at Lulang and Ruma are operational.
The mineral ores that used to be mined from the deposits have all been covered with soil and silt. The people of the Chhantyal community used to extract the ores by digging tunnels on the hill slopes where the deposits were found.
The mines in Myagdi have closed for three decades now due to the scarcity of mining equipments and the exorbitant tax levied by the government.
“Mining is the Chhantyal people’s traditional occupation. We have abandoned this occupation because of lack of equipments and as we have to pay more tax that mining has now become unprofitable,” said Mukunda Chhantyal, former president of Nepal Chhantyal Association, Myagdi district chapter.
The Chhantyal people have been now displaced from their traditional occupation due to this reason and the mines have also been covered by soil and silt deposited by the rainwater on the hill slopes. There is large population of the Chhantyal community in Gurja, Takam, Kuinemangal, Malkabang and Bhakimli in the district.
The community elders and leaders have demanded that the government should provide them subsidies for mining to operate these mines.