Sotq gold mining by “GeoProMining Gold” LLC essentially affects the quality of agricultural products in Sotq residential area. Mine dust and polluted surface water affect people’s health: this is one of the conclusions of “Perception of People on Social Impacts of Operations of 'GeoProMining Gold' LLC and Proposals Aimed at Overcoming Negative Impacts” research implemented by Dr. Anahit Mkrtchyan, Head of “Community Mutual Assistance” Social NGO. The research has been carried out within the frames of “Mining-impacted communities – Full Participants in the EITI Process” project aiming to detect the social impacts of the operations of “GeoProMining Gold” LLC on Sotq residential area, opportunities of people’s awareness and formation of participatory behaviour of involvement in the EITI process.
“Almost all interviewees have assessed adversely especially in terms of air purity substantiating that explosions at the mining and the dense dust arising from the wind destroy agricultural products. According to the interviewees, “blue” and “green” dust clouds arise which may be saturated with harmful substances and get spread in the residential areas located far from Sotq. “Colourful” dust is harmful to plants, especially those land areas irrigation only with rainwater...The residents didn’t speak about the negative impact of the mine on their health. Moreover, the findings of the monitoring of the population health carried out by the company are not presented to the population, while community municipality has been informed that the findings are “sufficient”. This assessment needs checking and comparing with the findings with independent expert assessments,” the research says.
The seam research presented the findings of expert interviews carried out by community social workers appointed by President of “Astghavard” Disabled Children’s Parents NGO and “World Vision” organization in Sotq on the diseases common in this area. (see the studies)
According to this study, 7 out of 16 interviewed assessed positively the operations of “GeoProMining Gold” LLC for providing working places.
According to the conclusion of the research, the absence of environmental NGOs in the community doesn’t promote the formation of the participatory behavior of the population and full participation in the EITI processes.
The research lays down the proposals of the residents on making the operations of “GeoProMining Gold” LLC transparent and accountable, which are as follows:
1. In case of any damage caused as a result of the mining operation, to impose a fina equivalent to the damage and to direct these funds to the community budget for the purpose of eliminating the damage.
2. To carry out quarterly independent expert assessments of soil, water, and air, to present the findings to the population of Geghamasar community and to discuss with the mine administration.
3. To ensure direct communication between the company administration and locals in order for the company not to solve all the matters with the community head only.
4. To have an open contest for new job positions available in the mine so that people holding top positions and having come from other communities won’t employ their relatives.
5. The company shall be obligated to organize entire medical checkup among the population and to establish a professional medical service in the impacted residential areas.
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.
11:56 May 31, 2019