On 23 May the public hearings on the environmental impact of Gladzor polymetallic mine development project submitted by “Vayk Metal” LLC were held in the community. The discussions were participated by Gladzor and Vernashen community heads, the representatives of “Vayk Metal” company, Karine Movsisyan – Expert of Nature Protection Ministry, Gladzor community residents and the representatives of NGOs.
“Vayk Metal” LLC representative Aram Osikyan said that 20-30% of the mine development will be carried out in opencast manner, the rest will be underground. According to him, it’s planned to construct an ore dressing plant in Arin community, which will operate for 40-50 years with the current reserves and without reassessment. The total area of the mine is over 1000 ha, the area of open mines is 13 ha,” Aram Osikyan said.
According to the project, estimates of 628,37 thousand tons of lead, 711.44 tons of zinc, 63.4 thousand tons of copper, 2605.3 tons of cadmium, 201.18 tons of silver and 9789.0 kg of gold. The concentration of lead in one ton of copper is 4.34%, zinc – 4.92%, copper – 0.44%, cadmium – 0.018%, silver – 13.90 gr/t and gold 0.68 gr/t.
According to Aram Osikyan, the project affected communities are Gladzor and Vernashen. Vernashen Community Head Miqayel Baghdasaryan noted that 80% of the mine field is located in the administrative area of Vernashen Community, other 20% is in Gladzor community.
The participants of the public discussion raised the risks of Gladzor polymetallic mine development.
Gladzor Ex Communiy Head said in his interview with EcoLur:
- In the 60’s this mine was developed by the English and the French. There is even a program for the relocation of Gladzor, Vernashen, Malishka communities to Russia, as the radiation was so high that it affected on the health of people. Radiation caused the cessation of the mine development.
EcoLur addressed a question to the representative of “Vayq Metal” LLC.
- Have you assessed radiation risks?
Aram Osikyan: There are no radiation risks - we have carried out measurements and there are state measurement based on which we can state there is no radiation.
Vernashen Community Head Miqayel Baghdasaryan:
- All our drinking water coes from this field – 27 km. Vernashen occurs all the damage. This water supplies water to 80 ha of irrigated land areas in our village – apricot, grape, apple orchards, privatized land areas of 120 households.
Seyran Minasyan, Water Ecosystem Expert: All the drainage water in this area and coming out of the caves of the closed mines will be dumped into the drinking water and fields of the villages.
EcoLur: In the project there are animals, which are most red-listed.
Aram Osikyan: It’s impossible. There is none.
EcoLur: For example, brown bear is red-listed.
Aram Osikyan: What to do with brown bear, it’s us who should escape it. We have seen bear traces, but we haven’t seen it.
Project affected Gladzor and Vernashen community heads have different opinions about Gladzor mine development.
Gladzor Community Head Andranik Martirosyan: If the mine doesn’t harm nature and people, I myself agree to development, as there are other issues. Currently 70% of the youth in the village has left. Why not to create working places and to work there?
Vernashen Community Head Miqayel Baghdasaryan: Our village has rejected this project – opencast mining and ore-dressing plant. The whole damage will be in Vernashen community, people are deprived of three categories of land property, the village won’t have drinking water, while all the meadows are there. It’s huge environmental disaster. I don’t know about Gladzor, but Vernashen community should be relocated to another place, and then only this mine can be developed.
20:12 May 26, 2016