Matter of Geghanush Tailing Dump Left out from EIA Submitted for Environmental Impact Assessment

Matter of Geghanush Tailing Dump Left out from EIA Submitted for Environmental Impact Assessment


The 4th public discussion on environmental impact assessment report on Shahumyan Gold-Polymetallic Technical Proposal submitted by “Chaarat Kapan” CJSC was held in Kapan Municipality, Syunik Region, on September 18.

The Geghanush tailing dump, the most risky facility for the environment and health, is not included in the EIA submitted for examination. When asked by EcoLur that the EIA does not include tailing dump sustainability, a representative of the Chaarat Kapan company said that the problem of Geghanush tailing dump is being evaluated by a world-renowned company. "We hope that this year we will have a draft project to be submitted to assessment," he said.
"The company has predicted that if production increases, there may be a problem with tailing dumps, so they think ahead of time. The project is not aimed at eliminating the emergency situation, but at improving the sustainability factor,” Aida Alexanyan added, head of Environmental Department at Chaarat Kapan Company. 

It should be reminded that in 2018 Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment for Geghanush Tailings Project was submitted to environmental expertise, prepared by the former owner of Kapan Combine, Polymetal, stating that the stability of the northern tertiary reservoir of the tailings dam would not be ensured in case of estimated maximum-magnitude earthquake.

The Environmental Impact Expertise Center SNCO gave a technical task to the company, after which the tailing dump project didn’t undergo the main stage of expertise.
According to the EIA document, after the closure of Shahumyan gold-polymetallic mine, “Chaarat Kapan” will carry out environmental monitoring for 10 years. EcoLur was curious as to who should carry out the monitoring.
Taron Navasardyan, an environmentalist at Geotech Ltd, said: "If the final closure plan is selected for 10 years, it is considered useless afterwards, the state can carry out monitoring with its own means."
Boris Sargsyan, a member of the initiative, inquired whether monitoring was being carried out at the Kavart mine. In response, Simon Navasardyan, Director of Geotech Ltd, said: “No monitoring is being carried out at Kavart mine. In 2011, the Kapan plant handed it over to the state ... Why did it hand it over because it realized that it had a duty on its head. The Soviet had operated an open-pit mine for 70 years with a productivity of 70 million, and the Canadians had come saying the Soviet-operated mine needed to reclaimed. … There is a residual resource in that mine. The mine is reclaimed when the reserves run out and are exhausted. ”
There was a question about planned social programs that residents in the affected areas were unable to talk to the company and voice their concerns. “Currently we have financed the renovation of the kindergarten at Geghanush school. We have been providing passenger transportation from village to town and vice versa with the Geghanush community for many years,” Gayane Tadevosyan, Head of Public Relations and Social Policy Department at Chaarat Kapan CJSC said.
According to the official website of the EITA of Armenia, the base amount to be allocated to the Environmental Preservation Fund in 2018 is 105,000,000 AMD. The company paid the prepayment amount and paid 23,863,635 AMD for 2016 and 2017.

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.

19:34 September 19, 2019


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