At the end of May 2016 it emerged that spilled wastewater from a mine operated by Kazzinc Ltd in Ridder (Kazakhstan) has polluted the river Ulba, a tributary of the Irtysch, over a length of hundreds of kilometres. Locals are reporting breathing difficulties as far as 700 metres from the river. At the beginning of June, the grey coloured water is likely to reach its one million city- Omsk (Russia)- after covering a distance of 1100 kilometers. Authorities in Omsk downplayed the risks, saying that the spill will pose no danger to the public and referring to the high self cleaning abilities of the river1.
The spilled tailings residue contains cyanide, zinc, lead, manganese and copper and could therefore pose a serious threat to the river fauna and the local people. Details of how the accident happened are still unknown, as well as the impacts that the spill will have. Andrei Lazarev, company spokesman of Kazzinc Ltd, claimed that workers and the public are not exposed to any health risks and that the company will pay the compensation required by law. The wastewater is supposed to contain mostly ground down rock and only a small amount of non-ferrous metals, according to Lazarev. Non-ferrous metals are for example Cadmium, Cobalt, copper, nickel, lead, cinn and zinc, which don`t contain iron and can definitely be harmful. The plant in Ridder has stopped production since the accident happened2.
Kazzinc Ltd. is a subsidiary of swiss Glencore Plc3.
Stockholders of Glencore, according to morningstar
Investmentfonds with shares in Glencore, according to onvista
- http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/others/news/n0671-stinking-poisoned-water-flows-towards-siberia-from-mining-city-ridder-in-kazakhstan/ , 31.05.2016, last review 07.06.2016, shows pictures of the polluted river [↩]
- http://www.central-asia.eu/index.php?article50/kazakhstan-metals-spill-into-river-sowing-alarm , 28.05.2016, aufgerufen am 07.06.2016 [↩]
- http://www.kazzinc.com/en/Organization_of_operations, last review 07.06.2016 [↩]