In Tajikistan, work on the preparation and eventual delivery of remediation can begin now that a framework agreement with the EBRD has entered into force. The document provides the legal basis for the implementation of projects in the country.
In another step towards implementation, a contract for remediation works in Shekaftar in the Kyrgyz Republic has been signed, the EBRD said.
The Shekaftar mining complex includes three closed mines and eight mining-waste disposal areas that contain about 700,000 cubic metres of waste from mining operations. Radioactive waste-rock dumps, scattered around the village and next to a school, pose a risk to public health.
The first remediation works will focus on the closure of six shafts and the relocation of five waste-rock dumps to an existing dump at a more remote location.
The EBRD established the Environmental Remediation Account for Central Asia (ERA) in 2015 at the initiative of the European Commission, to help the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in remediating some of the most dangerous sites left by uranium production in these countries during the Soviet era.
The EBRD said the status of the mining and processing sites is degrading further over time and monitoring and maintenance activities have ceased at many sites.
The ERA is managed by the EBRD and supported by contributions from the European Commission, Belgium, Switzerland, the US, Norway and Lithuania.