Civil Society Demanding to Annul Permit and Contract for Off-site Prospecting Awarded to "Metal Gold"

Civil Society Demanding to Annul Permit and Contract for Off-site Prospecting Awarded to "Metal Gold"

On August 15, 2022, non-governmental organizations sent a letter to RA Minister of Territorial Management and Infrastructures, Gnel Sanosyan, demanding the annulation of the permit and contract to carry out off-site prospecting in Gladzor multi-metallic mine, Vayots Dzor Region, awarded to "Metal Gold" LLC.

The letter addressed to Gnel Sanosyan says:

“According to the decree of Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures dated on 26.02.2021, "Metal Gold" was awarded a geological prospecting permit No. ЕHТ29/309 for the purpose of mineral extraction for a period of 3 years for the reassessment of the conditions parameters and reserves of the Gladzor multi-polymetallic mine in Vayots Dzor Region as of 02.06.2009. The permit was issued by TAI without a positive expert assessment conclusion issued by "Environmental Impact Expert Assessment Center" of Environment Ministry.

The Ministry of Environment's rationale was that the company operations are offsite, i.e. office-based, and not subject to an environmental impact assessment.

Thus, without an expert assessment process and public discussions, the company received EHT29/309 permit for geological studies, then applied for an amendment to EHT29/309 permit and to add to the obligations an experimental extraction of up to 2500 m3 to perform technological tests.

The application for preliminary assessment of the impact on the environment of the experimental extraction of the mineral of Gladzor polymetallic mine, Armenia, says that the operations will last 4-5 months, creating a new open mine. It should be mentioned that this process is subject to environmental expert assessment.  Nevertheless, the process has already started. On August 18, "Metal Gold" company organizes a public discussion on the request for preliminary assessment of the environmental impact of the experimental extraction of minerals from Gladzor polymetallic mine at the stadium of Gladzor settlement of Yeghegnadzor community, Vayots Dzor Region, Armenia.

After receiving a positive expert conclusion in accordance with the law, only TAI can issue a geological exploration permit to the soil manager and sign a contract, which means that the permit and contract for EHT29/309 off-site studies issued by TAI should be annulled, whereas "Metal Gold" company will begin the process of issuing a new permit on August 18 at 18:00.

Dear Mr. Sanosyan,

We, the representatives of the undersigned non-governmental organizations, appeal to you to annul the permit and contract for EHT29/309 off-site studies awarded to "Metal Gold" company.

Inga Zarafyan - "EcoLur" Informational NGO

Roza Julhakyan - "EcoLur" Informational NGO

Victoria Burnazyan - "EcoLur" Informational NGO, EITI MSG member

Nazeli Vardanyan - "Forests of Armenia" NGO, EITI MSG member

Sona Ayvazyan - "Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center" NGO, EITI MSG member

Oleg Dulgarian - " Center for Community Mobilization and Support" NGO

Tehmine Yenoqyan - "Green Armenia" NGO

Haykuhi Araqelyan - "Evolution of Vayots Dzor" NGO".

August 15, 2022 at 14:37