Residents of Ararat Region are demanding that the communities such as Ararat, Surenavan, Armash, Yeraskhavan and Paruyr Sevak villages located in Ararat Region are recognized as the affected communities of GeoProMining Gold LLC. They voiced their demand during the discussion held on October 9 entitled “Be Informed and Demanding, Protect Your Interests and Rights in the EITI Armenia Process” organized by EcoLur at Ararat InfoHouse.
“There are villages in Ararat region that are affected by the company operations. They should be recognized as affected communities. There is an impact on water resources as there is production and water is used. Contamination with dust from the tailing dump area takes place. There are fish ponds in the vicinity of the tailing dump. The water coming from the tailing dump goes to Kakhanov canal, which irrigates Surenavan, Armash, Yeraskhavan and Paruyr Sevak communities. These communities should have an opportunity to make use of environmental fees,” the locals demanded.
It should be noted that the affected community is designated by the Ministry of Environment.
EcoLur Expert Victoria Burnazyan presented the data of the First National EITI Report on GeoProMining Gold LLC for discussion.
GeoProMining Gold LLC operates Sotq gold mine located in Sotq community in Gegharkunik, Ararat gold extraction plant in Ararat town and cyanic tailing dump in Ararat Village.
According to the First National EITI Report, the activities of GeoProMining Gold LLC have adversely affected the city of Ararat and the village of Sotq. The harmful impact of the emission of harmful substances into the air basin is 15% in Ararat and 85% in Sotq. According to the report, water pollution only occurred in Sotq, Ararat is not mentioned.
Whereas the projects implemented with environmental subsidies from Ararat related to water. In 2016, repair and commissioning of artesian deep wells or commissioning of wells was carried out for 4,042,000 AMD, project design documents were developed. No works with environmental fees were carried out in Sotq village. There were also no health programs implemented in the communities. Instead, GeoProMining Gold LLC has committed to the socio-economic development of Sotq community and in 2017 provided 9,600,000 AMD to the village.
Ararat residents have made a number of proposals to increase transparency and accountability of GeoProMining Gold LLC's activities:
1. Publish the production volumes by GeoProMining Gold Company,
2. Develop a program aimed at ensuring the safety and risk reduction of Ararat cyanic tailing dump, and present it to civil society,
3. Undertake a socio-economic commitment to villages of Ararat, Ararat, Surenavan, Armash, Yeraskhavan and Paruyr Sevak
4. Conduct free health checkups for target groups.
This material has been prepared within “Mining-Impacted Communities – Full Participants in EITI Process'” project implemented by EcoLur with the USAID support within the frames of “Engaged Citizenry for Responsible Governance” project implemented by Transparency International Anticorruption Center.
This article is made possible by the generous support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
13:11 October 16, 2019