18:50 June 07, 2012
The Ministry of Nature Protection keeps on receiving observations and proposals on opencast development of Amoulsar gold mine project. Reminder: on 18 April Nature Protection Minister Aram Harutyunyan assigned to set up a working group, which will particularly examine the public proposals. “Trchkan” civic initiative presented its observations. Their statement particularly says,
“1. Taking into consideration the importance of “Jermuk” brand for Armenia, as well as the fact that Jermuk is located only 12 far from the mine, at the initial stage of project approval Jermouk should be recognized as the affected zone, where public hearings should be held. For unknown reasons, jermuk wan not included and naturally the interested public didn’t receive any information and didn’t take part in decision-making process which led to the violation of the Aarhus Convention provisions.”
2. On 18 April 2012, the public hearings on Amoulsar project were held at Nature Protection Ministry, where you noted that “Geoteam” CJSC has exceeded the borders of the territory almost five times, where the company is conducting geoprospecting. In this regard, we expect to receive explanations from you, what kind of measures the Ministry tool to bring the company to justice.
3. At present the public is not aware of the results of the geoprospecting conducted in the territory of Amoulsar in the Soviet time, especially those connected with the prospecting of the uranium results.
4. When examining the documents of Geoteam CJSC available, an impression is created that the company’s past and future activities won’t have any impact on environment, or the impact will be so low that new technologies will enable to exclude them. In our opinion, these documents either say nothing about damages or expected economic gains.
5. During the mine development for 15 years, 92,2 million cubic meters of dumps will be formed which will occupy 161 ha, their negative impact on environment is unknown and the project lacks this environmental impact.
6. Under the project, the space for heap leaching is located 1200 meters far from the Vorotan River. Size– 1,474,499 square meters, height – 72 meters, capacity – 89 million cubic meters. Taking into consideration that sodium cyanide will be used in the leaching, all the emissions into Spandaryan reservoir may have extremely hazardous consequences. This may have catastrophic consequences for Lake Sevan as well, which is a national and regional reserve of drinking water. The project doesn’t say a word about this, no results for seismic, tectonic, engineering-geological studies of the space designed for such dumps and wastes.
7. There will be 33,230 explosions, which result in the emission of 337 tons of dust per year without having any negative impact on environment. Moreover, the impact of these explosions on the mineral sources of Jermuk and other underground water springs is not seriously studies and assessed. The fact mentioned in the technical memorandum proves that the studies conducted by the organization don’t contain any documents in regard with Jermuk springs and revealed studies concerning the impact of shakings on the wells located in other territories. In our opinion, such a comparison can’t be trusted.
8. Hydrogeological studies in the territory were conducted from 16 September 2011 to 20 December 2011, in dry period, and they can’t reflect the level of underground waters and flows. The real picture will be clear in case, if the studies will be conducted in March-June, when show melts, which is the main source of replenishing surface and underground waters.
We think there are problems connected with biodiversity, but we don’t draw attention to them, as the experts had already expressed their opinions at the meeting and gave negative assessment.