EcoLur has sent its opinion to RA Nature Protection Minister Artsvik Minasyan on Teghout Copper and Molybdenum Mining Expansion Project by 15 million tons per year submitted by “Teghout” CJSC. The copy of the letter has been sent to 'Center for Environmental Impact Expert Assessment' SNCO Director Vardan Sahakyan. The opinion says, “On 24 August 2017 “EcoLur” Informational NGO took part in the second public hearings on Teghout Copper and Molybdenum Mining Expansion Project by 15 million tons per year submitted by “Teghout” CJSC. During the discussions, project-affected Shnogh and Teghout community residents raised their concerns about the contamination of their land areas and the Shnogh River with mining leaks and emissions. The residents demanded from them to eliminate the causes of leaks and emissions and to compensate all the economic damage having been caused to them before the discussion of the new project. On 25 November EcoLur had a meeting with the local residents and found out that the company carried out sampling in its land areas to detect the presence of the metals and elements in the soil. The analysis has been carried out in the Environmental Department of “Lernametalurgiai Institute”, which showed the concentration of copper, cadmium, arsenic, zinc in the soil is higher than the standards.
During the second public hearings “Teghout” CJSC acknowledged the fact of leaks, which should have been included in the minutes of the discussions. If this fact is missing in the minutes, we can provide a video. As the residents claim though the company hasn’t rejected the fact of soil and water pollution, it didn’t carry out any measures aimed at eliminating pollution consequences and didn’t provide any compensation to the residents.
Photos of Shnogh River contaminated with mining leaks flowing in the area of Shnogh Community.
“There is no accumulation in the tailing dump, as the tails flow into the river. The amount of tails has increased... There should be a protective layer between the ground of the tailing dump and the tails so as the humidity of this mass doesn’t reach the soil. Three months after the development of the tailing dump a spring has started flowing under my house and two more in other places. The latter got dry two months ago. I called people and asked them to take samples: so far I have been waiting for the responses,” Shnory resident told EcoLur. The residents incur double damage from Teghout copper and molybdenum mining, as, being near-forest community residents they make use of the forest goods and 8 cum of fallen deadwood. Currently, the sections of the forest assessable for population are closed by the company, while the forest planted by the company actually doesn’t exist so as people can make use of this forest in future. People have lost the opportunity to deal with agriculture in their own land areas because of the lack of pastures, pollution of soil and land and have become dependent on “Teghout” CJSC and the working places offered by this company. After the end of the construction works, the working places for the residents of Shnogh and Teghout have reduced significantly – 131 people from Shnogh and 75 people from Teghout. As a result of Teghout project implementation, the rights of the impacted community residents to health and living in healthy environment have been violated. “If my residential area is not a place to live in, whether or not my rights have been violated? I don’t want to have a person ill with cancer in my house, but I do have,” Shnogh resident said. People’s right to property has also been violated: “As a comparison, I would like to mention that currently the Electric Networks of Armenia has rented administrative areas in our community paying annually 3000 AMD for one square meter. Nevertheless, we were paid 40, 50, or 60 AMD for one square meter as value,” of the impacted community residents say. People’s access to information has been violated: “They were avoiding to announce us the date of the third hearing. They said orally or called to say there will be a hearing in two days. The announcement hadn’t even been available in the village municipality,” Shnogh residents told about the third public hearings on Teghout expansion project. The residents claim their opinions are not taken into consideration in decision-making process, “We have always taken part in the discussions, as we always have the status of injured parties. We are participants, but we can’t impact these decisions, they always harm us.”
“EcoLur” Informational NGO is joining the demands of Teghout project-impacted residents and thinks 'Center for Environmental Impact Expert Assessment' SNCO should reject the project by “Teghout” CJSC taking into consideration the damage caused to people and environment because of the activities of “Teghout” CJSC.
“EcoLur” Informational NGO thinks the following measures should be taken:
1. To carry out examination of the contamination of soil, water, air and agroproducts in Teghout project-impacted residents and to publish the findings of the examinations.
2. To obligate “Teghout” CJSC to take measures to eradicate mining leaks, to clean the polluted areas and to recover them.
3. To obligate “Teghout” CJSC to carry out reforestation and forest care works approved by the EIA of the Teghout project and carry out monitoring of the performed works together with a competent body.
4.To obligate “Teghout” CJSC to assess and compensate the damage caused to residents to restore the rights of the resident to health and living in health environment.”
16:28 December 07, 2017