The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) Civil Society Faction held a special session dedicated to the discussion of the conflict situation in Urut settlement in Lori Region and Gladzor Community in Vayots Dzor Region. The meeting was attended by Sona Ayvazyan, Executive Director of the Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, Nazeli Vardanyan, Director of Forests of Armenia NGO, Oleg Dulgaryan, President of Center for Community Mobilization and Support NGO, alternative member "Lawyer of Civil Voice" NGO Arthur Hambardzumyan, YSU lecturer Suren Nersesyan, expert-lawyer Arthur Grigoryan, President of "EcoLur" Informational NGO Inga Zarafyan (upon the recommendation of the alternative member, Vice President of "EcoLur" Informational NGO Victoria Burnazyan) and EcoLur journalist Christina Ter-Matevosyan.
The participants discussed the mechanisms of normalization of company-community relations, the stakeholders of the mining sector, considering the tense situation in Urut settlement and Gladzor Community.
The residents of Urut have already objected three times: they did not allow "Jin Holding Limited" LLC to hold public hearings in the area of Urut minefield (polymetallic) for geological prospecting in 2021-2024. Despite this, the company continues to seek support from the community and collects the signatures of its supporters. Residents have also initiated a petition against mining. These ongoing actions of the company have led to a conflicting situation, which has a negative impact on the community.
Oleg Dulgaryan mentioned that the company's activity violates the right of Urut residents to live in a clean environment, as well as creates tension and polarization among the residents.
A conflict situation has also arisen in Gladzor community due to geological research carried out by Metal Gold Company in Gladzor gold-polymetallic mine. In 2019, Gladzor Aldermen’s Council decided to "turn Gladzor Community into an eco-economic area and ban metal mining in the community." Metal Gold promised its supporters new jobs with high salaries, which caused a conflict between the residents opposing mining activities and the supporters of the company, thus contradicting the decision of the Aldermen’s Council.
In fact, it turns out that the community, which has rejected the company's application several times, does not get rid of the "persecution" of that company. From this point of view, the members of the EITI civil society faction of proposed to amend the draft Law on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), to prohibit holding more than two public hearings at each stage. It was also suggested that the community/settlement should have a development plan that contradicts the mining industry, which is considered a legal act adopted by the Aldermen’s Council.
The MSG Civil Society Faction is going to convene a meeting of MSG with the participation of all stakeholders in the Government and business, presenting the mentioned issues and proposals. It was emphasized that the EITI MSG format allows the problems of the mining sector to be identified and solved through consensus. The civil society is going to make a statement on the conflicting situations.
October 06, 2021 at 14:21