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Wadi Feynan copper mining will pose grave threat to archaeological, environmental treasures — scholar

By Saeb Rawashdeh - Aug 22,2021 - Last updated at Aug 22,2021

The interior of Um Al Ammid Roman copper mine in Wadi Feyan (Photos courtesy of ACOR/Jane Taylor Collection)


AMMAN — Both the cultural and environmental heritage of Wadi Feynan are supposedly protected by the Law of Antiquities No. 21 of 1988 and amended Law No. 23 of 2004, and by the Environmental Law of 2017, a Jordanian archaeologist said.

“Moreover, Dana Biosphere Reserve is on the tentative list of World Heritage Committee, which gives the area an additional layer of protection by international law,” noted Mohammad Najjar, who spent decades studying the ancient copper mines in Wadi Feynan.

Regarding the government initiative to explore copper deposits in Wadi Feynan, Najjar thinks that “it is impossible while preserving the archaeological and the environmental resources in the area”.

“What should be done in my modest opinion is to develop environmental, historical and religious tourism trails, considering the extreme richness and global significance of the resources, specifically the ancient copper production during the early Christianity in southern Jordan,” Najjar told The Jordan Times in an e-mail interview.  

Wadi Feynan is where the production chain of the ancient copper industry is illustrated by the still-standing monuments, Najjar noted.

He added that the ancient inhabitants of the area were attracted by the presence of copper ores at attainable depths.

“With the open mining all the archaeological sites and features will be completely bulldozed,” Najjar said.

The mining activity will pollute the area and poison the natural environment, he said. 

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