By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Four thousand dunums of land in Ruseifa piled with waste from phosphate mining will be cleaned up and turned into green spaces, parks and vocational zones, according to environment officials.

The Jordan Phosphate Mines Company (JPMC) started operations in the area in the 1930s, and the plant was relocated to the south of the country in the 1980s.

Under the first phase of a project to rehabilitate the area, locally called “phosphate hills”, 11 million tonnes of waste and debris will be cleaned up, Ministry of Environment officials said yesterday.

“The project’s first phase will be implemented on government-owned land, which will be fenced off and cleaned up in preparation for the rehabilitation process,” Minister of Environment Hazem Malhas said during a meeting to launch the project.

Several studies will be carried out, particularly on the mounds that contain phosphate and the properties of the soil in order to identify the best utilisation of the area and divide it into green spaces, parks, and vocational and services zones, he said, noting that the project’s first phase will cost JD900,000.

The project was divided into phases because the rehabilitation of the vast phosphate hills requires large financial allocations, according to Abdul Majid Khabour, director of the Zarqa Environment Directorate.

“The rehabilitation of the phosphate hills depends on the topography of the area, as certain locations require filling the mining pits with soil, building supporting walls or fencing to stop people from littering,” he told The Jordan Times.

Khabour said the project will be implemented by the Ministry of Environment in cooperation with the Greater Amman, Ruseifa and Zarqa municipalities, in addition to the JPMC.