The Ministry of the Environment has not recognized invalid mining projects having been issued positive EIA opinion but not having been implemented as it has no relevant information from the Environmental and Mining Inspection. This is in response to EcoLur's inquiry dated on 19.08.2019 replied with letter 5 / 07.1 / 52174 by Acting Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment Vahe Jilavyan.
EcoLur Informational NGO has sent an enquiry to RA Ministry of Environment to learn whether or not the position opinions issued to non-operating mining companies have been annulled, particularly:
- Opinion N ԲՖ 74 issued to “Baktek Eco” LLC on 19.09.2015 for Arjut gold mining EIA and construction of a plant,
- Opinion N ԲՓ 96 issued to “Tatstone” LLC on 21.12.2015 for Litchq copper mining EIA in Syunik Region,
- Opinion N ԲՓ 60 issued for Litchqaz-Tey gold mining project EIA on 29.06.2017.
Vahe Jilavyan said in his letter: "Given that the Ministry of Environment does not have supervision powers, the EIA opinion may be revoked after receiving relevant information from the Environmental and Mining Inspection, which is not yet available for Bactek Eco LLC and Lichkvaz CJSC."
In connection with the relevant request for commencement of the planned operation of Litchq Copper Mine by Tatstone LLC in Syunik Region, the Ministry of Environment has applied to the Environmental and Mining Inspection and received a reply that this information will be available after conducting inspections at the company in the near future.”
It should be noted that according to the decision of the Government of the Republic of Armenia N 428-N dated on April 22, 2015, “The Procedure for Annulling Expertise”, the Environmental Inspection is conducting an inspection in the enterprise, if:
1) the activity is carried out with the deviations from the design documentation and requirements of the expert opinion;
2) the design and foundation documents subject to expertise have undergone amendments having probable impact on the environment without informing the Authorized Body;
3) The conditions set forth in Part 1 of this Article (Article 21 of the EIA Law) have not been fulfilled within the prescribed time limits.
However, according to the public reports of the above mentioned companies posted on the official website of the EITI Armenia, they did not operate and did not produce after receiving the expert opinion. Pursuant to point 15 of this Procedure, if the planned activity does not commence within one year after the conclusion of the expert opinion, the conclusion loses its validity and a new expert opinion is required.
EcoLur asked the Ministry whether the requirements of governmental resolution dated on February 22, 2018 N 191-N "ON ESTABLISHING PROCEDURE OF REQUIREMENTS TO MONITORING PLANNTED TO PREVENT REDUCTION IN ENVIRONMENTAL LOSS, IRREVERSIBLE IMPACT DUE TO SOIL MANAGEMENT, AS WELL AS SETTING REQUIREMENTS TO SUBMITTING REPORTS”, which refer to the publication of the reports on the outcomes of the monitoring.
Only the reports of "TEGHUT", "CHAARAT KAPAN", "LICHQVAZ", "LIDIAN ARMENIA" CJSC and "TATSTONE" LLC are posted on the Ministry of Environment website. The response letter states: “The authority to conclude subsoil contracts and submit written warnings to legal entities is vested with the competent authority in the area of soil management and protection (the Ministry of Energy Infrastructure and Natural Resources, currently the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure).
13:54 September 24, 2019