| Jalal-Abad Region|
Saturday 5:33 PM
| 7°C, Wind E at 13 km/h, 61% Humidity|
Mailuusuu (Kyrgyz: Майлуусуу) is a mining town in Jalal-Abad Region of southern Kyrgyzstan. Its area is 120 square kilometres (46 sq mi), and its resident population was 22,853 in 2009. It has been economically depressed since the fall of the Soviet Union. From 1946 to 1968 the Zapadnyi Mining and Chemical Combine in Mailuu-Suu mined and processed more than 10,000 short tons (9,100 t) of uranium ore for the Soviet nuclear program. Uranium mining and processing is no longer economical, leaving much of the local population of about 20,000 without meaningful work.
The USSR left 23 unstable uranium tailings pits on the tectonically unstable hillside above the town. A landslide in 1958 released 6,000 cubic metres (1,600,000 US gal). In 1994, a landslide blocked the Mailuu-Suu River, damaging a waste reservoir, and a flood caused by a mudslide nearly submerged a tailings pit in 2002. Mailuu-Suu was found to be one of the 10 most polluted sites in the world in a study published in 2006 by the Blacksmith Institute. The World Bank approved a US$5 million grant to reclaim the tailings pits in 2004, and approved an additional $1 million grant for the project in 2011. However, grave threats still persist.