Whether the dross from the former lead and zinc processing plant in Veles will be transported to Malaysia will be known in three months from now. The deadline of six months of the Malaysian government to decide whether it will greenlight the import of waste or ban it, has expired at the beginning of this month. The decision wasn’t made due to the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. All activities for monitoring agreements for waste import have been prolonged since the institutions weren’t working for more than 70 days, said the Keps Mont Group Company, which was selected to export the waste.

The company stated that they are in contact with its Malaysian partner firm and  they expect to start exporting the dross as soon as the government’s decision is announced.

“We expect the agreement with Malaysia to be honored since it was concluded before the introduction of measures for banning the waste import at the start of this year. The monitoring postponement was expected since the institutions were functioning for a long time due to the current pandemic. This isn’t going in our favor but those are the objective reasons why we cannot do anything” said Keps Mont Group.

Malaysia introduced the import ban in January, this year. This country was supposed to be the final destination for 1.8 million tons of waste which for decades was located in Veles. It’s a historical hotspot, a leftover from the operations of the former foundry which presents a great danger for the health of the citizens in the city and the living environment. The dross contains heavy metals i.e. 10 % zinc, 1 %lead including other dangerous metals such as cadmium, copper, arson, indium, thallium, which still are valuable and can be used as raw materials. Because of that, as informs Keps Mount Group, they are negotiating with other companies as well, and some of the potential final destinations for this raw material are other countries in Asia and Africa.

“As soon as we receive approval from any of the sides involved we shall start with the exporting of the raw materials from Veles. We will not opt to cancel this project since we invested so much effort and assets in it,” stressed the company.

According to their plans, with the currently planned dynamic for transportation of the technogenic mineral deposit consisting of around 50 trucks per 24 hours, the black hill at Veles, should be gone by around four years. It will be transported with special trucks through Greece and the port in Thessaloniki. So far, only several hundreds of tons of the dross, as specimens, were transported into Malaysia at the start of this year, as soon as the company received from the municipality of Veles, a B Integrated permit.