The Dutch pension fund, Pension Danmark, and EKF, Denmark’s Export Credit Agency, refused from funding Teghout copper and molybdenum mining project: as the website of the EKF says, “ The decision was reached after multiple attempts over an extended period to get the mine to comply with the terms of the agreement with EKF. The warning was recently followed by an ultimatum, which culminated in a message to the mine that we are withdrawing our support”. The main reason is that the mining company didn’t comply with the World Bank's guidelines on environmental and social sustainability.
The EKF outlined three main violations in Teghout.
First, the aquatic environment: one of EKF's explicit demands was that the mining operations must comply with international standards for the aquatic environment. EKF has on multiple occasions called attention to the problems of overflow from the mine's catch basin. The problems with the aquatic environment formed a part of EKF’s decision to withdraw its support.
It should be noted that Shnogh and Teghout villagers complained many times that the catch basin doesn’t serve its purposes and doesn’t support water cleaning, while overflows contaminate their land areas. For its part, the company promised to find technical solutions to this problem many times.
Second, the mine's tailings dam must, according to EKF’s terms, comply with international standards. However, despite multiple reprimands from EKF, the mine was unable to document that the dam complies with the requirements. The problems with the tailings dam formed part of EKF’s decision to withdraw its support.
In this regard, we would like to remind that Shnogh and Teghout villagers pointed out that the leaks occurs from the dam so as not to have it filled at higher rates than that of the project. The company rejected it and explained with the problems experienced with the catch basin.
And, eventually, the third violation: the smelting works that receives copper from the mine: the Teghout mine supplies some of its copper ore to a near-by smelting works, where the occupational health and safety conditions are completely unacceptable. The smelting works is not part of the mine, and is therefore not covered by EKF’s terms.
However, EKF has, on multiple occasions, pointed out the deplorable conditions at the smelting works to the mining company and strongly urged the mining company to exert its influence to achieve better working conditions.
It should be noted though the ACP Company relocated the pipes several kilometers above the combine, the emissions of the combine have reduced not that much. The combine continues smoking polluting the air basin of Alaverdi Town and its surroundings with sulfur dioxide, while in humid weather sulfur oxide with nitrogen compounds, mixture of different metals exceed the standards several times.
And the last point to focus on: it’s the second case when influential foreign organizations withdraw funding the mining companies in Armenia: recently, the International Finance Corporation, IFC, a part of World Bank, withdrew its participation in Amulsar gold mining project with heap leaching.
15:39 October 25, 2017