If Gold, Always Risks Present (Photos)
Gold mining production has been constructed several dozen meters far from Meghri River, under the open air of picturesque Meghri Gorge, which includes crushing unit, area filled with dumps and a tailing dump which is well visible for Kapan-Meghri highway. Near the plant you can see carriages for staff. This is “Sipan-1” enterprise, which has, besides production, also assets in Terterasar gold-bearing and Litchqvaz-Tey mines.
The carriages are empty, the machinery doesn’t work, under locals, it’s already not the first year. At first sight it’s evident that the open production and wastes in the form of washouts can directly affect on Meghri River and present substantial risks. At the time the Municipality signed an agreement with the company. “If at present a gold extracting company operates, certain hazard exists also for health, where you won’t find these hazards?” said Meghri Ex Mayor Misha Hovhannisyan. “The plant started its operation in the early 2000’s, then it stopped…They processed tails, but didn’t use nay chemical compounds, just water. It was drinking water. We planned to remove tails from there, they wanted to transfer them. We showed them a territory below Meghri. But they probably went red, sold it and left. They had 300 people employed and there was not an unemployed person in Meghri. Now Meghri is derelict. I think it was definitely toxic for people, but on the other hand, jobs are needed for people to live and to earn their living. If the plant doesn’t operate, people leave away, what else they have to do?”
Suren Hovhannisyan, “Arevik” National Park Director, “This mine hasn’t been operating for many years. Gold was mined in closed way, while information about galleries had been available earlier.”
Unfortunately, we were not able to reach Sipan-1 enterprise on the phone to understand who bears responsibility for the plant. Making a reference to the interview with Silva Hambardzumyan with news.am (07.01.2012), where she stated she owns “Sipan-1” LLC jointly with Indian "Walnut International Group Ltd”. Under specialized “Gold and Technologies” edition (N 1 (15), February 2012). Litchqvaz-Tey project was launched by “Sagamar” Company affiliated with Russian “Neva-Rus” Holding. It’s not excluded that both versions are compatible.