16 Dec 2019 17:52

Kyrgyz president signs law banning uranium mining

BISHKEK. Dec 16 (Interfax) - Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has signed a law banning the prospecting, exploration and mining of uranium and thorium, his press office said.

"The purpose of the law is to law protect the health of the population, land, water resources, flora and fauna, and guaranteed the rights of citizens to a favorable environment for living, working and rest, and to ensure radiation and environmental safety," the law states.

The law bans exploration and mining of natural and man-made uranium and thorium deposits such as tailings ponds and dumps, as well as imports of raw materials and waste containing the two radioactive substances.

Kyrgyz parliamentarians passed the bill banning uranium mining on October 31. "People conducted rallies and demanded a ban on the extraction of uranium ores. Uranium harms the environment and people's health. Uranium and thorium development on the territory of Kyrgyzstan would not be the right decision. In light of this, a relevant bill has been drafted," Kyrgyz Parliament Speaker Dastan Dzhumabekov said at the time.

The bill was submitted to the parliament after the April protests of local residents and activist against the development of the Tash-Bulak uranium deposit in the Issyk-Kul region.

According to the Kyrgyz government, 20 licenses have been issued in the country for the development of uranium deposits.