Zangezur Copper and Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC) new water usage permit plans not to increase the water intake but to use three more rivers as a resource, in addition to the 3 water springs already in use.
According to the EIA report for 2016 "Amendments to Qajaran Copper and Molybdenum Mine Resources", the company would have needed 68.84 million cubic meters of water per year from the Voghji and Sakqar Rivers and Geghi reservoirs. Now the company has also applied to get water from the Pkhrut, Dzagedzor and Geghi Rivers to meet its annual water demand of 68.84 million cubic meters. The company wants to get from Voghji River - 1300.0 l/s, Sakqar River - 170.0 l/s, Pkhrut River - 50.0 l/s, Dzagedzor River - 80.0 l/s, Geghi River - 380.0 l/s and Geghi River Reservoir - 370.0 l/s water.
On October 15, 2009, during the discussion of the ZCMC water usage permit project, Levon Galstyan, a member of the Armenian Environmental Front Initiative, stated that they want to remove 1300 l/s of water from the Voghji River when the water flow from the river to 1300 l/s is lacking in some months. In response, Sevak Matilyan, Head of Water Use Permit Division of Water Resources Management Agency of RA Ministry of Environment, said that the volume of water intake given to the company is the maximum use volume. "It will be used after maintaining the environmental flow."
Hasmik Mkrtumyan, Head of ZCMC Environmental Department, noted that they have had a monthly water distribution. "All the calculations have been made so that the problem which can arise when we take it from one point is distributed and the environmental flow of the river is secured," she said.
Levon Galstyan noted that not only the quantity of environmental flow, but also the quality of water should be taken into account.
When asked by EcoLur whether or not there is a requirement for the cleaning plants in the water use permit project, Sevak Matilyan responded that it would most likely be in the final document. For her part, Hasmik Mkrtumyan responded that they aim to provide a reverse water system in the tailing dump.
Hasmik Mkrtumyan mentioned that once a week sampling is carried out above and below the water pond of Artsvanik tailing dump and sent to the laboratory. “I do not know to what extent it is accessible to citizens in accordance with the law. But now we are working on installing an online monitoring system that will do the sampling not once a week, but 7 days a week, online monitoring will be done,” ZCMC representative said.
It should be noted that according to the Southern Basin Management Plan, by 2021 in the Southern Basin Management Area, which includes ZCMC water intake sources, the water supply will be reduced by 0.4% and by 1.3% by 2040 due to forecasted climate changes.
16:03 October 16, 2019