MYAGDI, June 1: Dilip Sherchan, the newly elected Chairman of Ward No. 6 of Malika Rural Municipality has said that he would take needful initiative for reopening two copper mines at Bhirkhani of Okharbot in Myagdi district that were closed in 1979.
“Concerned government agencies made excuses like licensing and other legal hurdles when I approached them with a plan to reopen the mines. Now that I have been elected ward chairman, I will spare no effort to reopen the mines,” Sherchan said, adding that the reopening of the mines will create job opportunities and open up income opportunity for the newly formed rural municipality.
Copper ore was mined at these two sites on a regular basis until 1979. A two-kilometer tunnel had been dug for copper extraction. The 25-meter segment of the tunnel is still working. Similarly, equipment used in mining are still there.
Sherchan held the copper extraction license when the mines were closed in 1979.
Shree Prasad Rokka, the chairman of Malika Rural Municipality, said the reopening of mines will create job opportunities for locals. “Reopening of mines can stop migration of youth toward overseas job destinations by providing them employment in their village itself,” he added.
A Norwegian team about a year ago has located a lead mine in the nearby forest. The team was in the area looking for gold mines.
Despite discovery of mineral resources, the mines have not been utilized due to indifference of government authorities, locals say.
According to the Department of Mines and Geology, there are around a dozen copper mines in the district.
“Now we will bring experts and inform them about the mines,” deputy chief of Dhaulagiri Rural Municipality, Ramesh Chantyal, said.