The residents of Akhtala, Shamlugh, Mets Ayrum residential areas adversely assess the social impact of “Akhtala Ore Dressing Combine” (Akhtala ODC) based on nature and people, as “Perception of People on Social Impacts of Operations of "Akhtala Ore Dressing Combine" CJSC (Shamlukh Copper Mine) Proposals Aimed At Overcoming Negative Impacts” document says drafted by Dr. Anahit Mkrtchyan, Head of “Community Mutual Assistance” Social NGO within the frames of “Mining-impacted communities – full participants in the EITI process” project based on deep interviews.
“Especially, the households are displeased with air and reduction in the amount of agricultural land areas, the quality of agricultural products (82-100%). The proof of what has been said is the following comment made on the current situation in one household, “Our flora and fauna has been destroying: bees have got eliminated, orchards are getting dry, while forest-covered are getting lesser and lesser. Animals die one after another, while the reasons are not examined. Harvest, animals and we together are intoxicated,” the document says. The only positive impact of “Akhtala Ore Dressing Combine” is the employment of 500-600 locals, as the 90% of the respondents said.
The deep interviews showed that:
· The combine hasn’t informed in advance about possible social impacts on the community resulting from its operations,
· Negative impacts particularly refer to the purity of air and the amount of agricultural land areas, the quality of products, which are polluted with heavy metals resulting to inborn anomalies, deviations in development, somatic acute and endocrine diseases, and ailment of the immune system and general growth in disease rate.
“Based on the people’s opinions, proposals and our observations the following proposals have been formed:
1. To specify the extent/degree of the harmful impact of the operations of “Akhtala Ore Dressing Combine” on different residential areas in optimized Akhtala community, to prevent possible subjectivity of the local government in directing and using funds, to ensure the controllability of project implementation by the population,
2. To add an ad hoc environmental chapter in the community strategic development plan developed by the community activists, NGO members and approved by the Aldermen’s Council,
3. To provide enhanced food to each schoolchild in preschool and school at the expense of the combine,
4. To assess the current workforce available in the region and to detect the potential of other working places as an alternative to mine,
5. To launch successful reclaiming works,
6. To use the resource of NGOs in the formation of participatory behavior of the conscious and literate population in order to maximize the possibility of their involvement in the EITI processes,” the document days.
This material has been prepared within “Mining-Impacted Communities – Full Participants in EITI Process'” project implemented by EcoLur with the USAID support within the frames of “Engaged Citizenry for Responsible Governance” project implemented by Transparency International Anticorruption Center.
This article is made possible by the generous support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
15:03 August 02, 2019