Agarak Copper and Molybdenum Combine CJSC plans to increase the volume of ore extraction from Agarak Copper and Molybdenum Mine by 1 million tonnes from 3.5 million tonnes to 4.5 million tonnes. According to the company's environmental expert assessment application, such a decision was made to avoid risks and keep employees' salaries.
The second public hearings of the project took place on October 3 in Agarak Town of Meghri Community. As Meghri Community Spokesperson Mariam Tsatryan told EcoLur, the only complaint during the discussion was from a resident of Karchevan who said that the plant must solve the issue of water accumulation so that they could use the water at the right time and at the right amount to settle the dust. The plant has promised to help.
Agarak Copper and Molybdenum Mine and Combine is operated by GeoProMining Gold LLC, represented by Agarak Copper and Molybdenum Combine CJSC.
Agarak ore dressing plant is 3 km from Agarak Town, while the open pit is located at a distance of 7 km. The village of Karchevan is 1.5 km from the mine infrastructure. The nearest major watercourse is the Araks River with its Kartchevan tributary.
Agarak mine with its infrastructure is located in seismic zone of magnitude 9 and above.
According to the project submitted by Agarak Copper and Molybdenum Mine, the reserve balances of the ore as of 01.04.2017 have accounted to 249.43 million tones. The mine will be operated in two phases in order to exclude the removal of large-scale ore-bearing rocks at 4.5 million tonnes of productivity per year. Phase I will include 45.3 million tonnes of ore and 60.9 million tonnes m3 overburden ores.
In Phase I, 60.9 million tonnes of rock will be removed as a result of the expansion of new 22 hectares. The tails will be accumulated in the tailings dumps N2 and N3 of "Davazami" at Agarak Combine 3.
In case of 4.5 million t/year productivity, the aggregate volume of the tailing dumps will allow the plant to operate for another 16.5 years.
The project states that two red-listed species (Hymenoptera) were found in the sanitary protection zone of the open pit: the violet carpenter bee (Xylocopa violacea L.), the crested ant (Crematogaster subdenta Mayr), out of beetles (Coleoptera) Tenebrionid beetle (Entomogonus amandanus Rtt.).
If the sanitary protection zone is to be violated as a result of the increased volume of ore extraction, the species enlisted in RA Red Book will be destroyed in the area, which contradicts the requirements of Article 26 of RA Mining Code, Article 18 of RA Law on Fauna. The company plans to invest $ 16840,000 to increase productivity.
This material has been prepared within “Mining-Impacted Communities – Full Participants in EITI Process'” project implemented by EcoLur with the USAID support within the frames of “Engaged Citizenry for Responsible Governance” project implemented by Transparency International Anticorruption Center.
This article is made possible by the generous support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
15:10 October 07, 2019