Public Hearings in Vazashen

Public Hearings in Vazashen


On 26 April 2019, the second public hearings on the geological prospecting of Vazashen gold-polymetallic minefield in Vazashen Community, Tavush Region, were held at Vazashen Community Municipality.

'AU Group' LLC intends to search for gold, silver, copper, zinc, and lead and to estimate their reserves in gold-polymetallic minefields in Tavush Region. Mass search for radioactive elements is planned.

Armenian Environmental Front member Ani Khachatryan considers these hearings to be formal. “No public hearings were held in Vazashen as such, but they prescribed it to be held as people entered the room. It turns out if people entered the room and left it the public hearings are considered to be held. But this is not a right thing to do: people are not aware of risks and are not aware of anything at all,” Ani Khachatryan said. Nevertheless, according to her, Vazashen Community Head Lorik Badiryan has drawn up minutes on holding the public hearings.

It should be mentioned that according to Article 20 of Regulation on Public Notification and Holding Discussions, the minutes of the public hearings shall lay down the venue, the date and hour of the public hearings, the composition of the participants, we well as all the remarks and proposals raised in the course of the discussions. Nevertheless, this regulation doesn’t regulate the number of participants, mechanisms of taking raised opinions into accounts, as well as the proportion of the residents having opinions for and against the adoption of the final resolution.

According to Article 23 of Regulation, the minutes and the video of the public discussions shall be posted on the official website of the expert center in 3 days after the center receives them, nevertheless, so far the official website of RA Nature Protection Ministry displays the minutes dated on 19 December 2018, and, in this case, the requirement of the governmental resolutions on the hearings have been violated.

“It turns out that these public hearings are just on paper and have no impact on the decision-making,” Ani Khachatryan outlines.

Reminder: The public hearings on of the geological prospecting of Vazashen gold-polymetallic minefield in Vazashen Community, Tavush Region, on 27 February were not held because of the protest demonstrations of Tavush residents and as there were no representatives either from “AU Group” having submitted the project or from the Nature Protection Ministry. That day Tavush Regional Head Hayk Chobanyan had a meeting with the representatives of “AU Group” and Nature Protection Ministry at Tavush Regional Municipality. He mentioned that holding public hearings in this stage was wrong as stakeholders hadn’t been not fully informed. Later on the air of “Lratvakan” Radio, Regional Head Hayk Chobanyan covered the development perspectives of Tavush Region and noted, “We are a rich region and  we don’t need a mine to become rich residents.”

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.

May 07, 2019 at 16:05