'Ardvi-Lori' Initiative Group
Ardvi community residents, Lori Region, are demanding to reject 'Miram' Company's project on the geological prospecting of Shekaghbyur gold-polymetallic mine. On 2 August 2017 the community residents sent a letter signed by 94 community residents to Armenian PM Karen Karapetyan, RA Nature Protection Minister Artsvik Minasyan and Ashot Manukyan, RA Ministry for Energy Infrstructures and Natural Resources. The letter says,
'Respectable Mr. Prime Minister and Ministers,
Newly-founded 'Miram' mining company intends to carry out geological prospecting of Shekaghbyur Gold-Polymetallic Mine in 146 ha administrative area of Ardvi Community.
On 26 July 2017 the second public hearings of Shekaghbyur gold-polymetallic mining project was to be held at Ardvi Village Municipality, nevertheless, nobody had informed us about the first public hearings and asked for our opinion, which is a gross violation of RA Law 'On Environmental Impact Expert Assessment'. The first public hearings were not held, but there was a meeting held among 'Miram' Company, Community Head and 4 people, where the minutes were signed by 5 people. There was no announcement about the hearings and we claim this meeting can't be considered as public hearings and the minutes of the public hearings shall be recognized as invalid, as our right to participation in decision-making has been violated, which is guaranteed by the Aarhus Convention ratified by the Republic of Armenia.
On 26 July, on the day of the second public hearings, Ardvi community residents didn't allow 'Miram' company to enter the community and to hold public hearings.
We, Ardvi community residents, are against to any mining activity in our community area. The mining field is located only in a distance of 2 km from the community, where the drinking and irrigation water spring and pasture for cattle are located. In the case of any mining, our water, soil, air and pastures will be polluted with heavy metals and toxic elements. The mining area has forests on it, while Ardvi forests consist mainly of old oak and beech trees. The mine works will affect the forest, and, as a result, we will get deprived of our clean water and forest. Dealing with agriculture and living in the community will become non-expedient. Our rights to living in healthy environment and health will be violated, which are fundamental human rights.
Despite it small sizes, Ardvi has rather ancient history: the embers of Hovhan Odznetsi Catholicos is buried in the village, the dynasty cemetery of the aristocratic family, the Qalantaryans, well-known in Russia is located in Ardvi, as well as the medical water spring called Snake Navel, which attracts thousands of tourists per year.
The UNDP has selected Ardvi community among 20 communities to develop rural tourism. This mining project will hinder the implementation of this important and sustainable 'green' economic project.
We are demanding to reject 'Miram' Company's project.'
17:02 August 02, 2017