On 26 July Ardvi community residents blocked the road running to their community not allowing 'Miram' Company to hold public hearings on Shekaghbyur gold-polymetallic mine geoprospecting. The area of Shekaghbyur gold-polymetallic mine occupies an area of 200 ha, out of which 146 ha is in the administrative area of Ardvin community, while the remaining 54 ha is located in Mgharti. The residents drastically oppose to any mining activity and they claimed their rights to ԼIFE, REST, HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT, CLEAN AIR, CLEAN WATER AND CLEAN SOIL will be violated in case of any mining activity.
Residents: Our right to living is violated...Our village is being destroyed: this is their only objective – no hearings will be held, we are the owners of our village and they must go back. Heavy metals are already a threat to our health. The mine area is on the top of our village and the wind blows from there: dust, heavy metals and water pollution...
- There is no water, too little. Even one explosion is enough for it to disappear....
- Two explosions, and that's it, our villages will start destroying. All this is done to make a couple of people rich, they don't care about our lives, health.
A company, which has established two months ago, is going to destroy a many-century-long village?
According to the resident, the mining field is located in the area of Lalver forestry enterprise, where you can meet pink oak trees, which are very rare all over the world, there are also tilias, fur trees, beech trees, and hornbeams.
'Forest felling may be carried out for mining, even if forests are not cut down, these forests will get dry,' the residents said.
Ardvi has a rich cultural and historical heritage – St. Johannes Monastery dating back to the 7th century, crosstones dating back to 4th and 5th centuries, 'Snake Navel' medical water natural monument, which attracts tourists to visit the community. Residents see tourism and agriculture as a prospective of a community development.
'Yelq' faction MP Gevorg Gorgisyan said they will support Ardvi residents, 'We are concerned with the preservation of nature and will help them not to have this project launched. If the mine is developed here, we can forget about these waters both in quantitative and qualitative terms. If we lose it, the villagers shall migrate from here,' All-Armenian Environmental Front Member Levon Galstyan said.
'This mining area contains polymetals such as antimony, zinc, lead etc. This area also has dispersed uranium, which means no prospecting shall be carried our or mining shall be prohibited at all,' Hakob Sanasaryan, President of Union of Greens of Armenia said. The right of the villages to participate in decision-making process has already been violated. The hearings to be held on 26 July were to be the second one, while the locals were not aware of the first hearing at all. EcoLur asked Ardvi Village Municipality to provide the minutes of the first hearings, but the municipality employees said they didn't have any minutes.
Unknown people wandering around the area were the company representatives, according to the locals, but none of them introduced themselves. The representatives of RA Nature Protection Ministry were also there. The residents unblocked the road after about two hours when the company representatives and government officials had left.
More details in the video.
20:03 July 28, 2017