To Prevent Ecological Disaster – Teghout
EcoLur – Civic Initiative of Teghout Supporters
The civic initiative of Teghout supporters circulated a statement addressed to the Armenian authorities with a demand to stop the development of Teghout copper and molybdenum mine, and started collecting signatures under this statement. The text particularly says, “We, the undersigned, demand that the Government of Armenia halts the exploitation of the Teghut copper-molybdenum mine and urgently introduces amendments to the legislation concerning environmental issues.
Exploitation of the mine will have devastating and irrevocable consequences for an entire ecosystem, with 1500 hectares of land being poisoned or destroyed, including forest, rivers, and rare species, and underground water and air being polluted. Teghut will witness the construction of the largest toxic tailings damp in the Caucasus.
The mining project threatens the physical and mental health of inhabitants of the region, their right to food and water, and violates children’s rights. Public property and national wealth have been privatized with massive miscalculation of the environmental impact and in the cost-benefit analysis, and without involving the public in the decision-making process, thus violating national legislation and international conventions.
Why This is Important:
- Deforestation: Teghut is one of the largest and best preserved forests in Armenia. Armenia’s forested area will be substantially decreased. Presently, only 7% of the country’s territory is covered by forests, while at the beginning of the 1990s this figure was close to 30%. Although Armenia makes up only 6.3% of the eco-area of the Caucasus region, more than 60% of the biodiversity of the region is concentrated here.
- Endangered animals and plants: 200 plant types, 55 species of mammals, 86 species of birds, and 4 species of amphibians are endangered by the mining project. Some of these are included in the Armenian and International Red Lists of Threatened Species of IUCN.
- Toxic waste-pollution: Open-pit mining will produce 500 million tons of toxic waste and 600 million tons of other waste.
- Health problems: Heavy metals in mining waste cause cancer, respiratory and reproductive diseases, birth anomalies, various allergies, etc.
- Cultural and historical heritage endangered: a number of historical and cultural sites will be destroyed, including 3000-4000 year old archeological layers.”
As of 27 April, more than 800 signatures have been put under this petition.