On April 9 EcoLur working group was in Vayots Dzor, where Gndevaz Villagers told “EcoLur” their region has uranium. “Uranium is plenty. I worked near Vorotan-Arpa Tunnel for 7 months as a miner, there was radiation, just they didn’t want to tell us,” Gndevaz Villager told “EcoLur”. He said the mine was developed last summer, this winter workds were suspended with a possibility of renewal. “There are 7-8 types of ore in the mine, but the main ore was tin. Not knowing anything we got employed there, but old workers said there is uranium next to tin. They said you will fell yourself, if you keep on working there a couple of years.” Gndevaz Villagers didn’t know which company developed the mine, they only knew they are from Yerevan. “We haven’t seen our boss. We have signed an employment contract, but we were not given the money as promised: instead of 15,000 AMD they gave us only 5-6000 AMD.”
Information about uranium we got from the worker was confirmed from scientific sources. “Mountainous Journal” scientific journal published G. P. Aloyan’s article entitled “Resource Potential for Radioactive Raw Materials in Armenia and Its Development Perspectives” (Issue N 6, 2007), which particularly says “According to the data of Armenian and Russian specialists, 34 mines and uranium manifestations have been detected in the country (specially thorium).”
Approximately 76 tons of uranium has been estimated in five land areas of Amoulsar, while taking into consideration uranium in thorium land area its common reserves can be estimates 100 tons and are assessed 30-40 thousand tons.”
The mine the worker mentioned in his interview is located in immediate proximity from Amulsar, i.e. where there demonstrations of uranium and thorium.
Thus, the company may enter the territory with uranium demonstrations and not know anything about it, as the exclusive right to investigation, prospecting and extraction of radioactive raw material in Armenia has been issued to Armenian-Russian Mining Company. Absence of information creates risks for people employed at mines or galleries that may reach uranium demonstrations.
EcoLur is sending an enquiry to Energy and Natural Resources Minister Armen Movsisyan, which particularly says:
“Taking into consideration Energy and Natural Resources Ministry is the body accountable for soil management, as well as under the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the Aarhus Convention), we would like to ask you to consider this material as an alarm signal about environmental important information that refer to people’s health and environmental impact and would like to ask to provide information on the following matters:
- What mine it is,
- Whether the radiation background was examined in this mine and in Amoulsar, what the examination results are,
- Whether the State Environmental Expert Group gave a positive opinion to providing a concession agreement.
April 22, 2011