Gndevaz villagers thinks the changes made in Amulsar open pit gold mining project are ineffective, which pursue only one goal - to attract investors due to decrease in project costs. The new program is submitted to “Environmental Expertise” SNCO of RA Nature Protection Ministry by Lydian International Company as represented by its subsidiary company – Geoteam.
“On 3 March the new program was presented in our village, Gndevaz. These changes look senseless in terms of effectiveness, technological improvements or ecology. The crushing and sorting plants are located nearer to the water, Kechout Reservoir, while it was earlier planned to locate them above. When we asked them why they had done it, they didn’t give any explanations. They crossed out one of the plants in the project and explained they didn’t need to crush the ore up to 12 mm, even 19 mm is enough. They also said that the concentration of cyanide solution has been decreased twice. I even joked they could take ore and rinse it with cyanide, maybe it would be more effective…
The road was reduced, by which the trucks will transport ore from the mine to the crushing plant. Then the conveyor will transport the material from the crushing plant to the heap leach plant. The old project (2015) planned to construct the conveyor on the foundation piers, but now it will be located directly on the land. I told them that in their project everything happens like in one small laboratory. As a matter of fact, we speak about huge areas – 134 ha for HLP, another 700 ha will be occupied for roads and conveyors or dumps… They are going to process and locate 350 tons of ore in three shifts almost all year, which is impossible. Working most of time in open air at the height of 3000 meters in the mountains is impossible, as it’s incredibly cold and strong winds blow there. At night it won’t be possible for anybody to work in cold seasons of the year.
They are calculating the economic effects and they say they would reduce the costs by 100 million USD. Is it unclear that all expense reduction will happen at the expense of ecology?
Here is a simple example. Under HLP there are underground water resources – the basin of the Arpa River. The company insists that there would be a closed cycle and there won’t be any leaks to the Arpa Rivr. It’s nonsense. Annually 4 million tons of cyanide solution will be used - it’s an open area available both for rains and snow. How can the leaks be zero? Where will 100 million tons of solution be dumped? These are our questions. The company explains the composite liners will be used, and pads will be made for cyanide dumping. Anyway, there are huge risks for leak. How can plastic layers prevent leaks? The ESIA says that the pads will be covered with 30-centimeter-thick clay and then they will be covered with 2-milimeter-thick plastic layers. They call it a geomembrane and they say empty holes will be left downwards, which are designed for leaks. We think if million tons of wastes are dumped onto this geomembrane, now empty holes will be left.
May 05, 2016 at 14:47