The government and the activist community in Kyrgyzstan are at loggerheads over inexorably advancing proposals to legalize mining at a pair of environmentally sensitive glaciers.
After opponents of the changes to the law assembled in Bishkek on November 8 for a protest rally, the authorities convened a roundtable to bring all sides of the argument together.
Deputy prime minister Duishenbek Zilaliyev said at the event that the government had no choice but to go down this path, as carving away the Davydov and Lysyi glaciers is the only way of continuing operations at the economically vital, high-altitude Kumtor gold mine.
“The glaciers are sliding and threatening works at the mine, that is why the glaciers are being carried away. We are not just protecting the gold, we are for the nation’s welfare,” Zilaliyev said.
Reprising a line he has used elsewhere, Zilaliyev remarked that the Davydov and Lysyi glaciers can no longer be preserved and that the government’s actions will not affect any other locations.
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