Most Probably Amoulsar Project To Receive Environment Impact Expert Assessment Opinion in Near Future
Nature Protection Minister Aram Harutyunyan has made the following proposals to Geoteam Company having submitted Amoulsar gold mine opencast development project.
1. To submit mine closure project.
2. In the course mining to organize the monitoring of water quality in the drainage basin of Lake Sevan and monitoring of radiation background of environment.
3. To guide by provisions of RA Code “On Soil”, Article 26, in case any red-listed plant and animal species are detected in the territory of mining.
4. To guide by the requirements of RA Law “On Lake Sevan” as regards with locating a gold extracting plant.
5. To hold international expert assessment of the project.
These proposals were made in the course of public hearings on Amoulsar project on 30 July.
Reminder: Still in 18 April Aram HArutyunyan assigned to receive the opinion of Scientific-Expert Committee on Lake Sevan Preservation on Amoulsar project and to hold public hearings in Jermuk resort town, where the population demanded to recognize their town as an Amoulsar project affected zone.
Though the discussion of the project were held in Jermuk, public hearings the status of which is laid down in RA Law “On Environmental Impact Expert Assessment” were not held in Jermuk.
When Lawyer Artur Grigoryan asked whether or not Jermuk was officially recognized as affected zone, Minister confirmed it was not.
Under our information, Scientific-Expert Committee on Lake Sevan Preservation has issued a negative assessment to this project. Despite public demands, this assessment was not publicized on the official website of the ministry.
In the course of the hearings Committee member Aleksey Tariverdyan stated, if the company will submit certain amendments in the project, the committee is ready to review its decision. It should be noted that RA Law “On Lake Sevan”, Chapter 1, lays down the definition of Sevan drainage basin, which includes Kechout and Spandaryan reservoirs and drainage basins of Arpa and Vorotan Rivers. While Article 10 of this law bans any activity that can pose risks for the ecosystem of Sevan. One question is left open: how the committee decision is able to review, if the drainage basin of Arpa-Vorotan River is affected by Amoulsar project.
The proposal to hold international expert assessment is also not very clear. There is a certain project and there are certain expressed opinions and comments, i.e. the expertise should give an opinion based on that, either positive or negative. Meanwhile, the positive opinion may contain wishes, for example, expressed above. In this case, the opinion of international experts is also an extra wish, which can’t replace the aforementioned opinion. Based on all this, Amoulsar project takes this route and in near future, by 4-5 August, it will receive the opinion by “Environmental Impact Expert Assessment” SNCO.