Detailed study of the country's largest potential iron mine hits snag

January 23, 2017 00:00 AM Kalpana Bhattarai

NAWALPARASI, Jan 23: A team from the Department of Mines and Geology (DMG) has reached the largest potential iron mine of Nepal, which lies nine kilometers north of the East West Highway at Dhobadi-3 of Nawalparasi district, to carry out a detailed study.

Although the team was tasked with studying the site, it has not been able to do so as two drilling machines could not reach the area due to difficult topography.

According to the team members, the iron mine is located in a very remote hilly area. And hence, the machines could not be transported without constructing roads. 

“Road access is needed to transport the machines, while the machines require lots of water to operate. In lack of both, we have not been able to start our work,” said geologist Narayan Banskota, head of the DMG's research team, which consists of 19 members.

According to him, the drilling machines are needed to study the country's largest iron mine in detail. 
“We have already studied the site in brief as the DMG considers the site as the largest known iron mine in the country. But the detailed studies can start only after the road access and ample supply of water,” added Banskota.

About nine months ago, a five-member team of the DMG had visited the area for preliminary investigation. Studies were conducted in 100 hectares of land in the mine. The study had concluded that 10 sq km of land is rich in iron. Sample collected from only two sq km of land had shown that the land consists of 20 million tons of iron, according to the DMG.

If properly managed, mining could be done in the area and it could produce iron needed for the country for years, claimed the DMG. Geologists have estimated that the area has raw materials worth Rs 23 billion. Those materials can be used to produce cement, steel among others.

However, locals residing around the area are worried that continuation of the study would displace them. Locals have urged the concerned authorities to mine the minerals in such a way that they would not have to be displaced. 

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