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Lefka Mine Reopening is Challenging

LEFKA, CYPRUS – Reopening the copper mines in Lefka might not only be difficult but could prove impossible, said government and private experts, the Cyprus mail reported.

The Mail reported that Turkish-Occupied Cyprus’ Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Hakan Dincyurek, reportedly stated on June 5 that his ministry had received a large number of applications from companies, adding that he had set strict rules for its operation.

Following the joint announcement by Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci regarding new confidence-building initiatives ahead of the next round of peace talks, interest in the abandoned mine sparked.

Companies are interested in reinvesting, said the Turkish Cyprus ministry.

 

 

The copper mines in the area –known as Mavrovouni- were owned by an American company called Cyprus Mines Corporation (CMC) which operated them since 1916. Work came to a sudden halt in 1974 following the Turkish invasion, the Mail reported. The Mavrovouni mines comprised of the mine at Lefka, the one in Skouriotissa and one near Apliki village. The Lefka mine, along with the processing plant ended up at the other side of the Green Line, unlike the Skouriotissa and Apliki mines. Hellenic Copper Mines took over from CMC and were licensed to operate in 1976 to this day. It is worth noting that in 2012 the mine broke the 50,000 tonnes milestone.

While an ore and possibly gold vein might still lies unearthed, wrote the Mail, getting it out will pose a great challenge, according to the Geological Survey Department director, Dr. Helen Morisseau.

Dr. Morisseau explains that the years of abandonment have taken their toll on the area, causing widespread pollution.

“If the war never took place and we kept mining the area uninterrupted we would have depleted the ore deposits some years ago,” Dr. Morisseau said, stressing once more the difficulty of resuming operation.

“It will be exceedingly difficult for any company to set up operation and begin mining. Im not a business manager but Im guessing that it would take a lot of money to kick-start a mining company,” she said.

 

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