ENVIRONMENTALISTS AND DENO GOLD MINING CROSSED SWORDS AGAIN

ENVIRONMENTALISTS AND DENO GOLD MINING CROSSED SWORDS AGAIN

ArmInfo

“Environmental-Social Profile for Deno Gоld Mining Company’s Operation in Armenia” publication was presented in Yerevan.

As “EcoLur” President Inga Zarafyan noted, since 2006 the situation in Syunik Community has been hard. “We assess the situation Syunik Community as disastrous, as there are still tails left by the company uncovered. The Norashenik River flows next to these tails and its banks are fixed by them,” she noted. Under Inga Zarafyan, the territory contamination with heavy metals poses danger, as just this community supplies greens and diary to all Kapan. As she stressed out, specialists time and again noted degree of danger in these foods in regard to high concentration of harmful substances in them. She also reminded that as a result of breakdown dumping in 2006-2007, the soil, as well as vegetable gardens and orchards in Syunik Village were contaminated, the cattle died, the children began to have heavy allergic reactions, up to skin was peeled off hands. The Shahumyan gold-metallic mine located in the territory of Shahumyan Community and developed by DGM were also ranked as highly dangerous. “The houses of the residents have been destroying because of the explosions. The developers practically didn’t leave any upper layer above the galleries which is prescribed by the development rules, and the soil collapses thus forming holes.” Inga Zarafyan advised. She called attention to the fact that the main flow was stopped after the construction of the Geghanush tailing in the common land areas of Geghanush Village.   Nevertheless, there is practically no buffer zone and those having neighbouring land areas were deprived of an opportunity to make profit. Besides 19 ha of private land areas, the forest hazel grove growing on the slopes of the gorge stopped to bear fruit as it is filled with wastes. “We suggest the government to found a committee to study the compliance of DGM’s operation to environmental norms,” Inga Zarafyan noted.

At the same time, the representatives of Deno Gоld Mining Company, Head of Management and Public Affairs Department Norayr Aghayan and Engineer at Environmental Department Hasmik Mkrtumyan expressed their disagreement with environmentalists’ opinions. Particularly, they are suspicious of the information that in 2006-2007 vegetable gardens and orchards in Syunik Village were contaminated, while the children began to have heavy allergic reactions. The statements made by Geghanush villagers on the tailing to be the main source for apparently non harmless dust were also treated suspiciously. DGM representatives denied any possibility of the tailing to be the cause of decrease in hazel forest productivity by 80%. Nevertheless, Chairman of “Greens Union of Armenia” NGO Hakob Sanasaryan noted that harm to ecology and health caused by heavy metals “through” the heavy metals of the tailing was proved by international experts long time ago. Under him, he himself had eye witnessed how the newly born calves and lambs in Geghanush Community didn’t live even a few days as they had serious health problems. “If such situation will go on, Geghanush Community will disappear in a few years,” he said. Under H. Sanasaryan, the engineering policy in Armenia is politicized. “If the appropriate state bodies will continue turning a blind eye to what’s going on, the companies will quietly start operating in Armenia and make superprofit by causing enormous danger to nature,” H. Sanasaryan stressed out.

It should be noted that "Environmental-Social Profile for Deno Gоld Mining Company's Operation in Armenia"covers the outcomes of the public informational monitoring of Deno Gоld Mining Company's operation conducted by "EcoLur" Informational NGO together with CEE Bank Watch International Non-Governmental Organization and "For Ensuring Ecological Safety and Developing Democracy" and "Khoustoup" NGOs. The documentary bases for this article are as follows: correspondence among NGOs, the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA, Territorial State Environmental Inspection in Syunik, the Ministry of Emergency State of RA, interviews with the locals, the results of the discussions of Deno Gоld Mining Company’s operation at the working meeting on environmental and social responsibility held by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London. The article is published by “EcoLur” Informational NGO with the support of Global Greengrants Fund.

January 20, 2010