The public hearings of “Re-equipment of Ore Dressing Plant of Tukhmanuk Gold Mine Mining Complex, Aragatsotn Region, protection dam of the tailing dump and temporary dry warehouse of tails” project submitted by 'Mego Gold' LLC was held in Meliqgyugh Rural Municipality, Aragatsotn Region, on 9 September.
The participants of the public hearings were Karine Movsisyan, Chief Specialist of “Environmental Expertise” SNCO of Nature Protection Ministry, project developers Vram Tevosyan and Hovik Nikoghosyan, “MEGO GOLD” LLC Administrative Deputy Director Tigran Baghdasaryan, Human Rights Defender Office representatives, Meliqgyugh Community Head Hakob Mkrtchyan, community residents and environmentalists.
“The crushing plant bears environmental risks because of dust spread and emissions during crushing. All the parts of the crushing plant must have local absorbing equipment to immediately absorb the emitted dust. Naturally a small part of the dust will get spread. Our task is to calculate the dust that will spread and to realize whether it’s a violation of sanitary standards or not.”
According to the project, it’s planned to construct a warehouse for interim dry tails next to the plant.
Project developer Hovik Nikoghosyan mentioned that currently all three tailing dumps of the company are in a state of failure and a dam must be constructed to increase safety.
“Three years ago when the washing plant was not operation, when the water was flowing, it caused 48 families to lose the potatoes they grew. Now when the plant doesn’t work, we have both potatoes and greens. Why are you lying to people, tell the truth,” Meliqgyugh resident said.
“2-3 years ago the bees didn’t work, but now they work. Why? Because the poison on trees has disappeared,” one of the residents added.
“As a person and ex minister, do you find it suitable to implement this project in this area, at such height and in this water system?” Hakob Sanasaryan, Chairman of Greens Union of Armenia addressed his question to developer Vram Tevosyan.
“They applied to our company and we have implemented our technical assignment: a new plant won’t be constructed, just the old one will be reconstructed, which will lead to the improvement of all environmental indicators,” Vram Tevosyan answered.
“That is, if the volume increases, the situation gets better?” Hakob Sanasaryan asked.
“You are going to unite the tailing dumps, you increase ore processing volumes not to take into consideration heavy metals – arsenic, zinc, more than a dozen, which exceed the permissible concentration. How are you going to keep Aparan residents free of all these hazards?” Aparan Aarhus Center Coordinator Natalya Manukyan asked.
“New system is dry tails, which will enable to exclude water leaks, as they are not liquid any more. Dry tails will be stored, whereas this system also envisages having water isolation layer,” Vram Tevosyan said.
“Here you poison the people and don’t allow them to live… you blocked the aqueduct and, as a result, 60 families left their places…You mislead the people. No tailing dump will be working here,” the angry villagers were shouting, “What have you one for the village during these four years, you give promises and do nothing…You have been developing the mine for 10-15 years, have you planted even one tree for the village? Have you constructed a kindergarten? No, nothing.”
13:40 September 10, 2015