Open Letter of Civil Society Representatives Concerned with Teghout to Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan

Open Letter of Civil Society Representatives Concerned with Teghout to Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan


Respectable Mr. Prime Minister,
Teghout copper and molybdenum mining have led to the deterioration of the environmental situation, pollution of land and soil with heavy metals, intensification of the social situation in Shnogh and Teghout villages, Lori Region.

For the operation of Teghout copper and molybdenum mine, on 1 November November 2007 the Armenian Government adopted resolution 1279-N on recognizing eminent domain over some land areas within the administrative boundaries of Shnogh and Teghout villages, Lori Region, and changing the category of land areas and under the light of this resolution, 81.483 ha in Shnogh and Teghut has been taken from Teghout and Shnogh villagers in a forced manner and provided to 'Teghout' CJSC. The company paid 40-50 AMD for one cum of land area. People have been deprived of their land areas, any opportunity to deal with agriculture and carry out own activities, forest good, clean soil, water, and air. Having been deprived of their own income, a part of the residents are found themselves in dependence from 'Teghout' Company where they used to be employed. Nevertheless, in February 2018, 'Teghout' CJSC declared about the non-fixed cessation of Teghout copper and molybdenum mining and termination of employment contracts with 1032 employees.
On 11 June 2018, Shnogh and Yeghout villagers blocked the road running to 'Teghout' CJSC demanding to recover their right to earn a living. The previous government was obliged to investigate and to present to the public what was going on in 'Teghout' CJSC, the grounds of the termination of the loaning agreement submitted by the Dutch party. PensionDenmark private pension foundation has withdrawn the loan of US $ 62 million provided to Vallex Group through VTB Bank because of serious environmental and social problems.

It is not excluded that 'Teghout' CJSC may suspend its operation violating its obligations and not recovering the damage caused to the environment and the local population, leaving a half-developed mine to the state, where rich and easily mined reserves have been used leaving reserves, which are not profitable to mine.

Teghout mining has been carried out without the proper supervision of state bodies and proper supervision of bodies in charge of technical control, didn't detect the environmental and social problems arisen from the operation of 'Teghout' CJSC. Under such conditions, if the operation of 'Teghout' CJSC completely stops, it will mean that the Armenian Government allows the company to remain unpunished and without bearing any responsibility, which will result in us, the citizens and the state, facing the aforementioned problems.

We are demanding that the Armenian Government eventually perform its powers prescribed by the Armenian Constitution and the Armenian legislation and to obligate 'Teghout' CJSC to recover the disturbed areas, to plant the double volume of the felled forest and to ensure proper care, to take measures aimed at increasing at the safety of Teghout tailing dump, to pay compensations to the residents for caused damanges, to prevent the pollution of the Shnogh and Debed Rivers with heavy metals, to present the financial means to the public, which the company must have envisaged for the closure of the mine, the reclaiming of the tailing dump, the dismantling of Teghout mine infrastructures and the recovery of the environment. These activities must have a mandatory nature regardless of the fact whether or not the company operates the Teghout mine.

We are demanding to make Ex Nature Protection Minister Aram Harutyunyan responsible (currently an MP from RPA), who signed the positive opinion of Teghout mining environmental impact assessment, which ignored numerous alarm signals and conclusions on Teghout project risks, as well as the complaints on environmental pollution.
We hope that the new government will take urgent measures so as not to have an environmental disaster and social shakes in the borderline zone of Lori Region.

'EcoLur' Informational NGO, Inga Zarafyan
'Forests of Armenia' NGO, Nazeli Vardanyan
Independent Expert Roza Julhakyan
'Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment' NGO, Yelena Manvelyan
'Reforms in Professional Education' NGO, Samvel Pipoyan
'For Sustainable Human Development' Association, Karine Danielyan
Independent Expert Edward Arzumanyan

13:49 June 14, 2018


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