VKG Aidu Oil OÜ obtains mining permit for Ojamaa mining fieldNews
29. September 2004
By the decision of the Ministry of the Environment of 27 September VKG Aidu Oil, a subsidiary of Viru Keemia Grupp AS (VKG), obtained a permit for establishing an oil shale mine at the Ojamaa mining field. The permit was issued for 25 years.
The area of the allocated extracting permit area is 1,694.21 ha, the measured mineral reserve to be mined is 58.681 million tonnes of trade oil shale. The oil shale resource at the Ojamaa field is of the highest quality of the oil shale not mined so far. According to the conditions of the mining permit the mine would allow for producing up to 2.5 million tonnes of oil shale a year. The room-and-pillar mining method will be used for the extraction of oil shale.
For the company this is the completion of one stage in a longer process. The permit contains stricter environmental protection restrictions than before, and before the establishment of the mine the company must perform more additional works than originally planned. The environmental monitoring and design work of the mine provided in the mining permit will commence without delay; the minimal output capacity of 0.5 million tonnes a year must be reached in five years.
“It is not an overstatement to say that it is a project that takes account of the environment and proposals of the environmentalists to a higher degree than any other mines operating in Estonia”, noted Mr. Janek Parkman, the Chairman of the Management Board of VKG. Due to the restrictions mining is technologically more expensive than the company originally planned.
OÜ VKG Aidu Oil, a subsidiary of VKG, started the application procedure for the permit in autumn 2002. There is virtually no human population at the Ojamaa mining field, 80% of which is located on state land — VKG Aidu Oil received an approval for mining from the owners of the three households located on the territory of the mining field. According to Jaanus Purga, a member of the Management Board of VKG Aidu Oil, several meetings have taken place with the local governments of Maidla and Mäetaguse and residents of the rural municipality over two years in the course of which all the plans connected to the establishment of the mine have been openly explained. All the proposals from environmental organisations and local residents have been reviewed before approving the special conditions of the mining permit.
After the opening of the mine there are plans to construct a new oil plant, the technological benefits of which would include a significantly lower use of energy, almost non-existent consumption of water, and a higher oil yield. The workers made redundant from the Aidu quarry and Viru mine after the oil shale resources there run out could be employed in the Ojamaa mine.
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