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The DOE’s opposition stems from its concern for the survival of the Asiatic cheetah (L) and Persian leopard.
The DOE’s opposition stems from its concern for the survival of the Asiatic cheetah (L) and Persian leopard.

DOE Opposes Mining in Yazd Protected Area

DOE has staunchly opposed the scheme since the day it was first proposed in 2005
The mining company’s top brass have said they are willing to create green areas near the mining zone to convince DOE to rethink its opposition

DOE Opposes Mining in Yazd Protected Area

Massoumeh Ebtekar, the head of Iran’s Department of Environment, has again voiced her department’s opposition to any mining activity in the D19 mineral zone.

The mineral zone in Yazd Province is rich in iron ore deposits. However, a portion of the zone extends into a protected area home to critically endangered species such as the Asiatic cheetah and the Persian leopard.

“To protect these valuable species, we cannot approve the proposal,” Ebtekar was quoted as saying by ISNA.

Protected areas in Iran are managed by the DOE and its consent is mandatory to allow any activity in the mineral zone.

Executives at Chadormalu Mining and Industrial Company, which has the rights to D19, are pushing to get their proposal approved, arguing that because their current operation in Dasht-e-Kavir (Kavir Desert) is coming to an end due to depleting iron ore deposits, moving on to D19 is of economic importance.

“The mineral zone is adjacent to the Chadormalu mines, which will run out of deposits in five years,” Mohammad Nourian, chief executive of the company, said in a statement earlier this year.

“We need at least four years to fund the operation and prepare the ground to begin extracting the ores from D19, so unless we get the approval now, people will lose their jobs.”

The company says it employs 3,000 people directly and “more than double that” indirectly in Chadormalu mines.

-- Pledge to Protect

The company’s top brass have said they are willing to create green spaces to convince the DOE to rethink its stance.

“When we started work on Chadormalu mines, we created 80 hectares of green space about 180 km from Yazd City, which helped bolster protection of animals in the region and did not harm the environment,” Seyyed Mohammad Abrishami, who is in charge of operations at Chadormalu mines, was quoted as saying by the mining industry news website, Madan24.com.

“We pledge to do the same thing and create green areas compatible with the region’s ecology, if they approve our proposal for D19.”

The DOE has staunchly opposed the scheme since the day it was first proposed in 2005, fearing its potentially destructive impact on the survival of species battling extinction.

The Persian leopard is the only living Pantera subspecies in Iran. Over the past eight years, 166 leopards have perished across the country. Major causes of death include road accidents, hunting and poisoning by shepherds trying to protect their livestock.

A study spanning four years found that 71% of all Persian leopard fatalities were attributed to illegal hunting or poisoning. Reduced prey population and shrinkage of the natural habitat are other factors threatening the graceful, but imperiled, big cats.

The other animal at risk is the Asiatic cheetah, which is the only cheetah subspecies found in Asia and now confined to Iran. Its numbers are down to 50, a tenth of what it was less than 40 years ago.

 

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