On 6 April Gndevaz villagers, Vayots Dzor Region, had a meeting with the representatives of state bodies and 'Lydian Armenia' Company to discuss the risks of Amulsar gold mining project and the construction of a heap leach facility. Armenian PM Karen Karapetyan promised to make this meeting happen durig his election campaign. As 'Lydian Armenia' CEO Hayk Aloyan stated, the company will accomplish construction and other preparatory works in 2017 and will proceed to the mining in 2018.
The main concerns of the residents connected with the probable leaks of sodium cyanide into environment, absence of any sanitary zone, proximity of HLF to houses and land areas, pollution of agroproducts with dust and wastes and health deterioration. The main demand is for people to have guarantees and compensation or insurance for other damage or contracts, so as people know who will bear responsibility for the consequences. 'We deal with cattle breeding and gardening, which is already not allowed. Now our animals and apricots shall be ensured. Traders think, if a plant is going to be constructed in Gndevaz Village, let's make apricot cheaper, so you should insure that,' Gndevaz resident raised a question.
In reply 'Lydian Armenia' CEO Hayk Aloyan said, 'The Company has an insurance of third-party damage. If our operations cause damage to the party, let it be the community, people, families or cars... for example, the car fell down, spilled its petroleum, which flew into the community, the company has an insurance of several million dollars. We are not going to insure people and villages individually.' 'My orchard is next to the HLF. I can see the development of my own economy in cultivating orchards. If a crusher is going to operate there, there will naturally be dust. If you don't want to insure, let's do a contract, if we can't sell the crops of the given area, there is buyer, you will be obliged to consume these crops,' another resident offered. 'Last year we took initial data from neighboring orchards, we have the data on the impact, which will know at the end of this year. When the construction finished, we will have other data, and when a mine development will launch after a year, we will have other data,' Hayk Alumyan responded in this way. Expert Seyran Minasyan asked a question to the representatives of state bodies on Jermuk mineral water. 'If it turns out that the composition of Jermuk water is changing because of mining after 3 or 5 years, please, tell me who will be liable – the PM, the Minister, who has signed it, the expert who has signed under this expert opinion or the SNCO? This is my only question, please, tell me who will be liable?' This question was replied by Arthur Minasyan, an expert at 'Environmental Impact Expert Assessment Center' SNCO of RA Nature Protection Ministry, who is also the expert of Amulsar project. 'What about water, we have examined water with isotope method, there is a relevant conclusion, nevertheless, it's public and not us who are concerned with the insufficiency. What about liability, I think it's prescribed in the Armenian Laws and Constitution,' Arthur Minasyan said. Several people were representing the interests of the residents, who were mainly displeased with the meeting. 'They are dealing only with their mine, but we want to breed cattle, nevertheless, they don't allow us. They have purchased around 60-70% of the village areas, we can't move because of the restrictions...We have to run away, otherwise will be poisoned... Currently they are only conduction explosions and laying roads, but animals already don't eat any grass...What will happen when mine development starts? The representatives of the government and ministry didn't answer any question, I'm very disappointed, so I am going to apply to the PM for him to interfere, as the hearing he promised didn't take place,'
Gndevaz residents complained. More details in the video.
13:06 April 10, 2017