Jordanian conservationists and environmental activists are up in arms over a government decision to move the boundaries of one of Jordan’s most diverse nature reserves in order to carry out copper mining in a region known to be rich in copper and magnesium ore deposits. The controversy started when the Ministry of Energy announced Aug. 20 that it plans to expropriate about 106 square kilometers (66 square miles) of the Dana Nature Reserve in southern Jordan — one-third of the total area of the reserve — for copper mining. It cited previous studies that concluded that there are roughly 45 million tons of copper deposits within the reserve’s boundaries.
It said in a statement that mining the area would create 3,500 new jobs with an initial investment of 200 million Jordanian dinars ($280 million). It added that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with a local mining company in 2016 but the company had withdrawn because the reserve’s administration had prevented its employees from entering it numerous times.