Арсенот на неоградената депонија во Табановце, лоцирана спроти пругата и железничката станица; Фото: Мета.мк

The police, customs, and phytosanitary border controls of passenger and freight trains between North Macedonia and Serbia will be performed at a joint railway border crossing which is planned to be built at the Tabanovce railway station. The facility which is yet to be built will house police officers, customs officers, inspectors and railway workers from both countries.

Meta.mk and Portalb.mk have already discovered that near the future border control facility in Tabanovce there is a dump with arsenic and other waste mineral raw materials, that endanger the people’s wellbeing and pollute the soil, water and the air. Hundreds of tons of arsenic and other types of dangerous waste haven’t been fenced in at Tabanovce, and we personally could testify we had severe headaches from the smell of arsenic and other metals after 15 minutes of being on location.

Otherwise, the location at Tabanovce was being used as temporary storage of arsenic and other metals that were excavated from the Loyane mine. The dump is located by the railway line and the location in the past was used for uploading the ore into trains and was transported elsewhere.

Since the investor in the joint border railway crossing with Serbia is the Ministry of Transport and Communications, we contacted them to answer whether with the project’s implementation they are also planning to clear out the critical location where the arsenic has been stored with the other waste mineral raw materials. We also asked what actions will be undertaken in order to protect the lives of passengers, railway workers and other border services that will be located at the planned facility at Tabanovce.

“We are asking you to contact the institutions for the protection of the living environment,” was the brief answer that was Meta.mk received from the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

But in the past period, institutions are shifting the responsibility from one to another regarding the subject of who is responsible for the arsenic that is stored at Tabanovce.

The landfill in Tabanovce wasn’t part of the concession agreement for the arsenic and other mineral raw minerals exploitation from the Loyane mine, informed the former concessioner. Last month, the government terminated the agreement with the Turkish company Kaltun Maddencilik for the exploitation of dangerous waste. With the agreement dating from 2014, the concessioner was only in charge of the exploitation of the tailings pond at the Loyane mine, but not the location in Tabanovce.

Because of this, the responsibility for the arsenic at Tabanovce was shifted from the Ministry of Economy to the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, but this ministry shifted back the responsibility to the Ministry of Economy. Meta.mk contacted the Kumanovo municipality on which territory is the dump with arsenic, but the local authorities shifted the responsibility to the central government.