Nature Protection Ministry Seeks to Curb Damage from ZCMC Tailing Pipe Breakdown
Nature Protection Ministry seeks to minimize the amount of damage from the breakdown of the tailing pipe at Zangezour copper and molybdenum combine occurred on 20 August. The following facts witness about this: Immediately after the breakdown Lenik Petrosyan, Head of Syunik Territorial division of Environmental Inspection, state that the tails poured out for no monger than 15-20 minutes. This statement gives rise to doubts, as the time period mentioned by the Head includes the detection of the breakdown, arrival of the employees at the scone with proper means and conducting emergency operations.
1. The cleaning of evident traces of the breakdown was carried out the next day, traces which may help to determine damages were cleaned out, i.e. no investigative actions shouldn’t be carried out. However, after а week the Nature Protection Ministry says on its website range of damage is till specified.
2. Nature Protection Minister Aram Harutyunyan in his interview with epress.am said that “it was not a breakdown and our department removed consequences immediately within several hours. Proper measures have been taken, damage has been estimated, as well as damage should be compensated.”
Only under our information, it’s at least the third breakdown of the tailing pipe at ZCMC within recent two years. In November 2010 the tails of ZCMC poured out into the Voghji River. At that time Nature Protection Ministry stated that the tails poured out for about 15 minutes and determined the range of damage in the amount of 650,000 AMD. In May 2011 the tails of ZCMC poured out into the gorge and collected in the territory of Sgharshik, where the locals grew fish. The size of the fine and compensations is still unknown to us. In summer 2011 five private business entities in Syunik Village complained that the tails of ZCMC destroyed their harvest (see EcoLur’s material), but the environmental inspection didn’t make any responses.
It should be noted that in other cases when the range of damage exceeds 400,000 AMD, for example, when estimating illegal forest felling, the environmental inspection passes the case to the law enforcement bodies.