Residents of the villages Bestobe and Aksu, located in the Akmola region, made numerous complaints about air pollution and massive dust accumulation as a result of ore mining and processing by Kazakhaltyn. The company is also building a tailing dump which the locals protest, as this could lead to even worse environmental pollution. A delegation from the Ministry of Ecology led by Zulfukhar Zholdasov, head of the Committee for Environmental Regulation and Control, went to the site to inspect the company’s dealings, the ministry’s press office reports.
The ecologists met with the public representatives of the villages, representatives of the Altynalmas enterprise (which owns a controlling stake in Kazakhaltyn) and the akim (mayor) of Stepnogorsk.
During the inspection, it turned out that the company’s tailing dump near the Bestobe village is being built without coordination, environmental assessments and permits. According to the residents, many of them did not participate in public hearings for the project. As a result, the company has been fined and the construction of the tailing dump has been suspended.
Another problem is the dusting from the ore-dressing plant which has been operating there for three years. In addition, another dressing plant is being built in the Aksu village without an appropriate environmental assessment and permit. For this matter, the company was also fined and the construction was halted.
Yet another issue in Aksu is the proximity of the village homes to the local quarry which is literally 300 meters away from the nearest house. Due to this, the company must submit a resettlement program to the Ministry of Ecology and the local public.
The company’s environmental protection plan should also include de-dusting measures due to the wind. The company intends to fulfill all the requirements and has created a working group with the locals.
Kazakhaltyn engages in prospecting and exploration works; extraction and processing of gold-containing ore; production of gold-containing goods; processing, storage and sale of gold and other precious metals; export of gold and other precious metals and stones; jewelry manufacturing; operations with refined precious metals and stones in physical condition; transportation; and organization of research, exploring and development work.