On 10 September the public hearings of Tukhmanuk gold mining project were held in Meliq Village, Aragatsotn Region, Armenia.
“Today we are discussing the first stage of mining, which will last 6 years. During these years ore will be brought from the open pit, it will be processes without any chemicals to produce concentrate,” said “Mego Gold” LLC Director Ashot Poghosyan and noted that the mine has 19 million tons of ore under estimated reserves.
On behalf of Meliq community, Village Head Hakob Mkrtchyan presented some demands to “Mego Gold” LLC.
“For years you have given us promises, but to no avail. On behalf of our community I’m posing demands in regard with the implementation of social programs. So if the community agrees and the mine works, Mr. Poghosyan, laying a drinking water pipeline is a must till the second half of October. The second demand to construct a reservoir with the capacity of 300,000 cum in the upper part of the community for irrigation purposes. It’s not costly. Then, the construction works of the internal network of the trunk road, which is in poor condition. Also it’s high time to think over the main problem - a road joining the highway.”
“Under the geological and environmental data, when a tailing dump is full, it must be covered with a thick layer of ground and fenced so as an animal or human doesn’t enter its territory. The first tailing dump is full, nothing was done, the second is full as well… even a drop of rain causes it to flow into the river, which we use,” said one of the elderly community members.
In reply Ashot Poghosyan mentioned that the tailing dumps are full of gravitational tails, which must be processed in the frames of this new project. You destroyed the water in the village for 40 days, you didn't come personally and then the police detained me together with several other weather, you didn't come when we blocked transportation. You didn't construct anything for 40 days, as if there is no one living in this village,' another Meliq Villager told Mego Gold Director.
Ashot Poghosyan gave the following reply, 'We have so-called 'gentleman' agreement with the village rural municipality. If any waterline stops operating in our area – around 226 ha, we are repaiting it...once agai I'm outlining this is a gentleman's agreement.'
The reply made the participants more angry, 'After explosions water sources may change their directions.'
The next question the residents were worried about was Mego Gold's debt of 8 million AMD since 2006.
'Why aren't you paying off...pay off people's money, then tell the people to come and work,' the residents said.
11:06 September 11, 2014