Syunik-based ‘Workers Rights Protection Union' NGO expressed its strong concerns with the development of Litchq copper mine by 'Tatstone' LLC, which presented for the public hearings on 14 August in Litchq Village, Syunik Region.
The organization has sent a letter and an enquiry to Nature Protection Ministry with copies dispatched to Andreas Weitzel, KfW Programme Head on Energy and Natural Resources in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.
The organization draws attention to the serious conflict of interests between Litchq mining program and the program of developing Zangezour Biospheric Complex. There are also doubts on the substantiation of Litchq mining project borders. Under the project, mine borders are in a distance of 1 km from Arevik National Park, which is a part of Zangezour Biospheric Complex, meanwhile the map of Arevik National Park hasn’t been submitted.
Zangezour Biospheric Complex is under the protection of Nature Protection Ministry, while German KfW Bank intends to provide financial support to this program in the amount of 8.25 million Euros. The statement particularly says,
“Mr. Aramayis Grigoryan
RA Minister of Nature Protection
Mr. Andreas Weitzel
Energy and Natural Resources Project at the
Eastern Europe/Caucasus/Central Asia Department of the KfW
Honorable Mr. Grigoryan,
In accordance with N 1209-N decision of October 15 2009 adopted by RA Government on “Approval of the establishment of “Arevik” National Park, of the statute of “Arevik” National Park and “Arevik” National Park” state non-commercial organization” the preservation of the park is carried out by “Arevik” National Park” state non-commercial organization.
Based on the same statute the organization’s subject and the goals are ensuring preservation of ecosystems in the territory of the park, landscape and biological biodiversity, scientific research of natural heritage, protection, conservation, restoration, reproduction, recording, inventory, monitoring, as well as the maintenance of sustainable use of the park’s natural resources.
For this reason the organization ensures the conservation of the regular development process of aquatic and terrestrial natural ecosystems, landscape and biological biodiversity and the regime intended for the national park, organizes and implements their scientific research, carries out the recording of natural ecosystems and of their separate parts, of flora and fauna and prepares the materials needed for cadastre maintenance, prevents human-caused processes disturbing the natural balance of ecosystems of the park, conducts ecological monitoring, etc.
You are also aware that opencast development of copper mine by means of drilling and blasting works is planned to be carried out in the direct adjacent area of “Arevik” National Park.
Nevertheless, the society is not informed of your opinion or of the attitude of the board and the director of “Zangezur” biosphere complex and “Arevik” National Park on the possible disturbance of the conservation regime of the national park resulted by such an economic activity. It is not clear either whether the noted mine is situated out of the boundaries of “Arevik” National Park and of its conservation (buffer) zone or not.
Let us remind that the mine is located in the adjacent area of “Arevik” National Park (according to the application 780 m. from the territory of the national park) and the mine development is planned to be carried out through drilling and blasting works – in opencast manner. However, it should be noted that no representatives from “Arevik” National Park were present in the public discussions. The indifference of the latter is quite weird taking into consideration the fact that enlargement of the mentioned mine is planned in the future as noted by Khachik Saponjyan (“Mining Technology and Engineering” LLC Director) - a specialist from “Tatstone”.
On the other hand, socio-economic development projects committed to the promotion of green economy is planned to be implemented in the nearby communities of “Zangezur” biosphere complex (which includes “Arevik” National Park as well) with the financing of KfW bank. It should also be noted that 8 mln. 200 thousand Euros have been provided by KfW bank for the biosphere complex including community development projects. Moreover, the representatives of GITEC Consult GmbH and of other organizations having won the KfW-funded project were not present in the public discussions either organized in Litchq community.
Therefore, we would like to ask you to provide the following information:
- Please provide the map of “Arevik” National Park with visible coordination system (the coordinates on the maps inserted in the social websites are not visible because of poor quality).
- On the whole how much money was spent on the establishment of “Zangezur” biosphere complex and “Arevik” National Park (Please note the data about financing entities and the total amount provided)?
- Have the staffs of “Zangezur” biosphere complex and “Arevik” National Park studied what impact the development of Litchq copper mine can have on the conservation regime of the national park, on the regular development process of aquatic and terrestrial natural ecosystems, landscape and biological biodiversity?
- Do the governing authorities of the national park consider the development of the stated mine as legal and permissible from the point of view of conservation of the legal regime for the protection of “Arevik” National Park?
President of “Workers’ Rights Protection Union” NGO .”
14:34 August 21, 2015