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Gov't to leverage mineral wealth, while preserving environment — Kharabsheh

Energy, environment ministers visit copper exploration project in Dana Biosphere Reserve

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Jun 25,2022 - Last updated at Jun 25,2022

Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Saleh Al Kharabsheh and Environment Minister Muawieh Radaideh during a visit to a copper exploration project led by the Jordanian Integrated Company in the Dana Biosphere Reserve in Tafileh on Saturday (Photo by Mays Ibrahim Mustafa)

TAFILEH — Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Saleh Al Kharabsheh said that the government is concerned with leveraging mineral wealth all over the kingdom, while guaranteeing the conservation of the environment and bio-diversity. 

The minister’s remarks came on Saturday during a visit to a copper exploration project led by the Jordanian Integrated Company (JIC) in the Dana Biosphere Reserve in Tafileh, some 200 kilometres south of Amman.

The visit, during which Kharabsheh was accompanied by Environment Minister Muawieh Radaideh, followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the JIC and the Energy Ministry on June 5. 

The memo stipulates that the exploration and mining of copper will be in an area of 78 kilometres, “located at a distance from environmentally sensitive areas in the Dana reserve”, Kharabsheh said.

He added that the memo will last for 16 months, during which the company will conduct an exploratory study followed by an economic feasibility study, based on which, the mining and manufacturing stages will be determined. 

“The project will be limited to the area determined in the memorandum,” Kharabsheh continued, noting that it’s still in the exploration stage. 

Moreover, “a joint committee will be formed by the JIC and the government to monitor performance and ensure that the work is conducted in accordance with the requirements agreed upon with concerned entities”, he added.

Kharabsheh also said that the project will follow a work-system that abides by global criteria and environmental requirements during its four stages: exploration, development, mining and restoration.

Radaideh also stressed that the exploration, and later on, mining of copper in Dana “will take place within a controlled environment and in accordance with the requirements set by the Environment Ministry and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), who will also work together to facilitate the JIC’s work” in cooperation with the Energy Ministry. 

He also noted that the JIC is conducting an “environmental impact study to determine the project’s effect on the vegetation, biodiversity, animals and most importantly people living in the area”.

Mining Adviser at the JIC Samer Makhamreh discussed the company’s working mechanism, stressing its commitment to the environmental requirements agreed upon with concerned entities. 

He also noted that, according to preliminary studies, the amount of copper in the mining area is over one million tones and the percentage of copper concentration is about 3 per cent, making the mining “economically viable”.

According to Makhamreh, the total cost of the project is expected to reach over JD600 million and the initial cost of the feasibility study has so far reached JD2 million. 

Energy Ministry Spokesperson Mashhour Abu Eid said that the ministry has recently signed a number of agreements for the exploration and mining of mineral resources.

He noted its focus on manufacturing industries due to their added value to the national economy, providing job opportunities and improving the livelihoods of local communities.

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