The environmentalists are raising the question on the risks of mining industry and hydropower. Responsibility for negative socio-economic consequences shall be born also by international financial institutions having funded these projects.
In the frames of these projects development of small hydropower took place in Armenia, which eventually violated river ecosystems and promoted the elimination of river fish species. Currently the focus in Armenia has transferred to solar and wind power. Nevertheless, hydropower continues remaining a priority for the financial institutions of development. Thus, hydropower is to be developed in Mongolia for the needs of mining industry, and for this purpose, the World Bank allotted Mangolia a loan of 25 million USD. "A part of water is intended to take to Gobi desert, where there are mines. Mined products will be exported to China, so China is also interested in this project,' Sergey Shaphaev, the representative of 'Buryat Regional Union For Baikal' NGO told EcoLur in Tbilisi during “Rivergathering-2017” international conference.
Three HPPs are planned to be constructed on the Selenga River and its largest tributaries with the involvement of Chinese investments and World Bank loan. The transboundary River Selenga gives 50% of the water to Baykal Lake, which is the deepest and largest freshwater water body on the Earth. Baykal is also a World Heritage site.
The risks include the violations of ecosystem functions of the Selenga Rivers, particularly wide-scale wetlands of the delta, which play a role in the unique biofilter and has an international status of the Ramsar convention, elimination of certain species of migrating fish and damaged economy of littoral areas of Selenga and Baykal.
The participants of “Rivergathering” conference from 34 countries, including 'EcoLur' NGO signed a petition against the construction of the HPP on the Selenga River, which was addressed to the UNESCO and governments of China and Mongolia.
15:12 April 18, 2017