Since 2014 “Teghout” CJSC (“ACT”) has been developing Teghout copper and molybdenum mine in an opencast manner in Lori Region and 357 ha of forest has been allocated for this project. Shnogh and Teghout villagers have been deprived of forest goods and free-of-charge fallen deadwood they are entitled to. This project implementation resulted in the pollution of Debed and Shnogh Rivers, while Duqanadzor and Kharatanots tributaries were completely eliminated. With the governmental resolution № 1279-N dated on 1 November 2007, eminent domain was recognized over 81,483 ha of community-owned and privately-owned agricultural land areas in Shnogh and Teghout villages. The residents received insignificant sums of money for their land areas. Since 2014 water resources, agricultural land areas, orchards and pastures have been polluted in the course of mining operations. Both villages are impacted with the hazardous emissions of the open mine.
Three years after the mining the company stopped the mining operation for a non-fixed period of time and 1032 out of 1190 employees have been notified about the termination of their employment contracts.
These mining operations have violated the following fundamental rights of the residents:
· VIOLATION OF RIGHT TO LIVE IN HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT- pollution of soil, water resources and agroproducts with heavy metals,
· VIOLATION OF RIGHT TO CHOOSE ONE'S OWN ACTIVITIES – obstacles to agriculture and tourism development,
· VIOLATION OF RIGHT TO HEALTH – contamination with heavy and toxic elements,
· VIOLATION OF RIGHT TO PROPERTY - community-owned land areas were handed for the company's project infrastructures under the name of eminent domain against insignificant sums of money,
· VIOLATION OF RIGHT TO ACCESS TO INFORMATION – the absence of proper notification about public discussions,
· VIOLATION OF RIGHT TO PARTICIPATION IN DECISION-MAKING PROCESS - the absence of proper notification about public discussions,
· VIOLATION OF ACCESS TO NATURAL RESOURCES AND VIOLATION OF RIGHT TO SUSTAINABULE USE – PRESERVATION OF WATER, SOIL, FORESTS, FLORA AND FAUNA, ECOSYSTEMS AND LANDSCAPES - Article 7 of Armenian Independence Declaration “The national wealth of the Republic of Armenia - the land, the earth's crust, airspace, water, and other natural resources, as well as economic and intellectual, cultural capabilities are the property of its people.”
· VIOLATION OF RIGHT TO PUBLIC SUPERVISION
· VIOLATION OF RIGHT TO PROTECTION
· VIOLATION OF RIGHT TO DAMAGES
· VIOLATION OF RIGHT TO FREE EXPRESSION AND PROTEST DEMONSTRATIONS
The following actions have been carried out to restitute the rights of the residents:
- Increase in awareness of green rights among the population by EcoLur Informational NGO carried out regularly since 2006,
- Legal consultation,
- Numerous letters and applications to RA President, Prime Minister, National Assembly, Aarhus Convention’s Compliance Committee, international organizations and banks supporting the implementation of Teghout project,
- Discussions in the European Commission and RA National Assembly,
- Numerous protest demonstrations in Armenia and Europe,
- Participation of famous figures and politicians in the fight against this project,
- Adoption of a decision by Aarhus Convention’s Compliance Committee on the violation of the Aarhus Convention provision during project implementation,
- Court litigations against Teghout project,
- The residents are demanding from RA Government to investigate all the violations and to oblige the company to recover the damage caused to environment and areas, to restore their green rights and make mining operations safe for environment and human health, to compensate damage and to deprive the company of the mining license in case these violations are not eliminated.
- Process of protecting green rights is in its active stage,
- Teghout is again on the public agenda,
- The Dutch pension fund, Pension Danmark, and EKF, Denmark’s Export Credit Agency acknowledged the violations, refused to fund the project and demanded their funds back,
- In 2018 inspections will be carried out at “Teghout” CJSC for the first time,
- “Environmental Impact Assessment Expert Center” SNCO of RA Nature Protection Ministry stopped the expert assessment of the project on Teghout mine expansion submitted by “Teghout” CJSC and sent it back.
- “Armenia - Strategic mineral sector sustainability assessment” report prepared by Swedish Geological AB in association with SLR Consultants Ltd., AVAG Solutions Ltd., AUA Center for Responsible Mining AUA, Turpanjian Center for Policy Analysis by World Bank’s assignment, Teghout dam project is considered as incompatible to international criteria both in environmental and physical stability terms. Under this report, especially Shnogh villagers are endangered, as their village lies in the downstream zone of a failure scenario.
16:20 March 15, 2018