Ashot Aramyan, http://golosarmenii.am/article/29756/pochemu-molchit-LYDIAN
Recently our newspaper has published an article entitled “Why Lydian Keeping Silence? Amulsar Project May Lead Acidic Disaster in Sevan”.
The company hasn’t responded to our publication in any way and keeps silence. We decided to come up with a new publication, where we ask more precise questions, which detail our concerns.
These are questions (outlined on purpose), the answers to which any company must draw up in advance in the frames of its Environmental Impact Assessment and the Equator Principles, without which, by the way, the company won’t get any funding in the Western stock markets, as well as in private investment funds.
Questions left without answers:
1. Whether besides Rock Acid Drainage Tests of gold ore conducted in ISO17001 certified independent laboratory, all other overburden rock, which will be transported from the mine to the pit backfill and will be exposed to oxidation with the formation of sulfuric acid, will be tested in ISO17001 certified independent laboratory?
2. What’s the extent of sulfuric acid generated in overburden rocs in case of thorough oxidation of the sulfide minerals they contain (mainly pyrite) and what extent of acid-neutralizing ores (limestone, dolomite, marble, lime) are needed to neutralize all generated sulfuric acid and to reach neutral acidity, which flow into the drainage and water flowing into Lake Sevan?
3. Whether such large stocks of neutralizing ores are available in logistic distance to Amulsar?
4. Whether the expenses of mining (purchase), transportation, crashing and blending of neutralizing ores were included in СарЕх, ОрЕх or ReEx?
5. What’s the blending schedule for neutralizing ores and overburden acid waste transported from mine in order to neutralize new volumes of sulfuric acid in timely manner? (neutralization can’t be left for future after the mining, as it happened in Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic and in numerous copper mines in Ural, Russia.
6. Whether the environmental part of Amulsar project underwent independent CRIRSCO audit by an internationally accredited organization, which includes in-detailed budgeting of expenses for mining (purchase), transportation, crushing and blending of acid-neutralizing ores (limestone, dolomite, marble, lime)?
FOR INFORMATION: Ecologically sustainable neutralization of acid-generating ores can be performed through blending acid-neutralizing ores (limestone, dolomite, marble), which are drastically needed. While deep neutralization of acid gold ore up to heap leaching should be performed only with lime, the price of which depends on (Ca,Mg,Fe) СО3 it contains. Lime is much more expensive than limestone…Sometimes acid-neutralizing expenses of overburden rock are not taken into estimate, which may account for 20-40% of total operation expenses, which make the projects economically irrational.
During the discussion on the environmental hazards the company representatives outline the fact that during Amulsar mining heap leaching method will be used, which anticipates the absence of a tailing-dump and less use of chemical substances as compared with other technologies, including cyanide. In this regard, we don’t have any guarantees whether the ReEx of Amulsar project includes expenses for cyanide detoxification after stages heap leaching in heal peaching facilities.
Nevertheless, the concerns about cyanide flows and leak into Lake Sevan are less hazardous than acidic pollution of water area, as the cyanide destructs very quickly (without an detoxificaton) under the exposure of oxygen and sun rays: the most effective mean for cyanide detoxification…is just to blend it in 1-2 years after heap leaching (its expenses must also be planned in ReEx).
After natural destruction cyanides turn into usual nitrogen fertilizers, where almost any plant can grow.
The ecological hazard in any mining project is not cyanide but acidic contamination, which can’t be corrected, but the soil and reservoirs must be mass neutralized with limestone and dolomite (as a rule, afterwards biofund is completely changed).
Non-romantic lakes, which will look like Coke
In our previous publication we presented the problems Canada-based “Barrick Gold” and “Goldcorp” Companies experiences in the Dominican Republic while developing one of the largest mines in the world - Pueblo Viejo.
If you have a look at the colorful photos taken from the space, you can see lakes colored like Coke. These are old acidic tailing dumps, where new operators don’t have enough funds to neutralize their acidic content, as enough volumes of limestone are not available in logistic distance.
Pueblo Viejo mine photos taken from Google map
13:07 August 05, 2015