MYAGDI, March 10: Copper mines detected in different areas of Myagdi district have been lying unused for years. Some 17 big copper mines of Dhawalagiri, Malika and Raghuganga Rural Municipality and Beni Municipality in the district have not been mined yet due to legal hassles and lack of modern equipment.
Local governments are losing revenue worth millions of rupees each year with copper mines of Rumle hill in Raghuganga-6, Thadakhani village, Malkabange hill in Dhaulagiri-5, Malkabang, Okharbot in Malika rural municipality and Chinakhet hill in Beni-3 lying unused.
The Bishal copper mine here in the district has also remained unused for long. Locals complained that the local and provincial governments have shown apathy toward resuming copper mines in Rumle hill. The mine was shot down some 106 years ago. The copper mines in Malkabang, which have been lying idle over the years, are also now buried in the forest.
It may be noted that around 100 years ago, locals used to excavate copper from the mines and manufacture utensils for their daily use. There was no requirement to purchase utensils from outside.
The copper mines remained shut when the then government started levying tax to those involved in copper mine excavation. There are over a dozen copper mines in Malbang village alone. Excavating mines is the ancestral occupation of the Chhantyal caste.
“There are still tunnels that were used to excavate mines in the upper hills above the villages. There are several copper mines across the steep terrain. In lack of use, the mines are already buried in the soil”, said Dhalman Chhantyal, a local. “We do not have any option but to remain a mute spectator in lack of efforts to explore the treasure”.
Locals said that the legal hassles and lack of equipment were the main challenges in resuming the copper mines. It would not be difficult to resume the mines if the government facilitated legal provisions and provided equipment needed for excavation, said Tek Jeet Chhantyal, ward member of Raghuganga-6.
Chhantyal said that the local residents have called for resuming the mines after carrying out necessary study and exploration. “We are deprived of using the natural resources available at our threshold”, said Himali Chhantyal, a local, adding, “If the mines here come into operation it would end the compulsion for youths to go abroad for employment and also generate huge revenues for the governments.”