Miners Got Activated: Earthworks in Area of Aygedzor Copper and Molybdenum Mine

Miners Got Activated: Earthworks in Area of Aygedzor Copper and Molybdenum Mine

Earthworks have been started in the area of ​​Aygedzor copper-molybdenum mine in Syunik Region, which has not been developed for years - since the end of 2020, as a local resident told EcoLur in Aygedzor. "The whole extraction was dumped on the bank of the Meghri River. "Our house is down the mine. If this work continues, we will have to leave the village," he said.

Aygedzor is one of the villages in Syunik, which is getting empty. Our interlocutor was the representative of the only household left in the village, which tries to develop tourism on the spot, but in vain. It has been two years since the last holidaymaker visited his resort, the reason, according to the resident, is the dust caused by the trucks transporting ore from Lichkvaz-Tey mine to Kapan.

"There was a tourist hotel, tourists visited in summer. No one has been visiting us for two years. Who will come, where will he sit and drink coffee? It is none of their business. We at least asked for asphalt so that this dust would not be, but in vain," he said. If this household closes, the village will become completely uninhabited.

It should be noted that two companies had permits for Aygedzor copper-molybdenum mining. One of them is “Tatstone” LLC, which had the right to soil management of Tkhkut site of Aygedzor copper-molybdenum mine, but in 2020 the company was deprived of that right. The other is “Active Lernagorts” LLC, which has owned the soil management right of the central section of Aygedzor copper-molybdenum mine since 2012, but did not mine the ore until the end of 2020.

The company's soil management contract does not contain provisions to support the socio-economic development of the affected community. According to the data published on the EITI website, the company did not implement any measures aimed at the socio-economic development of the affected community in 2016-2018. He did not make any charitable allocations or donations to the settlement. The company only paid the land rent.

Enlarged Meghri Municipality was not aware of the earthworks in Aygedzor mine either. Vanik Sargsyan, Head of Organizational Department of Meghri Municipality, said that he had no relations with "Active Lernagorts" LLC related to land, real estate or movable property taxes.

In 2018, RA Ministry of Energy Infrastructure and Natural Resources initiated administrative proceedings against "Active Lernagorts" LLC for non-fulfillment of Clause 3.4.1 of Soil Management Contract (carry out the works in accordance with the terms of the draft mineral mining contract), Clause 3.4.4 (to ensure compliance with the mineral extraction design requirements) and Clause 3.4.26 (to fulfill all the responsibilities set out in the laws of the Republic of Armenia), as well as for arrears of environmental protection fund and monitoring fees. However, after some time, the ministry terminated the administrative proceedings on the grounds that the company had eliminated the violations. However, the mine was not reopened.

Public hearings on the environmental impact of the mining project were held in 2012. The expert opinion on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is not available on the website of Environment Ministry. However, the expert opinion lost its force on the basis of Article 20 of RA Law on Environmental Impact Assessment and Expertise, as the Company did not carry out the project activities within a year after receiving the expert opinion.

This material has been prepared within “Liability of Non-operating Mining Companies in EITI Process” project impletmened 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.

May 13, 2021 at 15:05