Wealth of the West
Iron and copper mines in the mountaneous districts of the Far-Western Development Region have been lying unused for the last 52 years. Excavation works at mines in the districts of Baitadi, Bajhang and Darchula have been stopped in Nepal since 2013 BS. When operational, locals used to extract and purify ores with the help of available resources which in turn would be used to craft beautiful utensils.
The local authorities have written to the Mines and Geological Department demanding excavation works start anew, but to no avail. If brought into operation, the mines could provide thousands of local youths, now forced to migrate to India, with jobs.
According to the government, lack of motorable roads, a must for mine operation, is the major hindrance for exploration works to start; researchers have not been able to visit the mines for the same reason. But irrespective of the difficulty of accessibility, research and excavation works should start at once. If the whole population of Nepal cannot benefit from this treasure trove in the Far-West, the local people, who have in former times already shown their ability to mine and purify ores on their own, should at the least. If mining is safe, there is no reason to hold back on a task that will enrich local people with local resources, which is, after all, one of the bedrocks of development in new Nepal.