Geghanush Village is under the impact of 'Kapan Ore Processing Combine' CJSC, as Geghanush Tailing Dump of the combine is located between the village and Kapan Town. As a result of community optimization in 2018, Geghanush was included in Kapan Community and now the funds allocated to Geghanush by the combine are directed to the common budget of Kapan Community. 'As an impacted community, Kapan Combine had paid annually 4,600,000 AMD land taxed and allotted 8-10 million AMD for the implementation of social programs before the community optimization in 2018,' as Ex Geghanush Head, member of Kapan Aldermen's Council Ivan Kostandyan told EcoLur. EcoLur's team had a meeting with Geghanush residents on 4 May within the frames of 'Impacted Communities – Full Participants in EITI Process' project.
'The combine invested annually 8-10 million AMD for the village and at that time the villagers could see there is a positive change. Before the optimization, the villagers could address their questions to the combine director on their own, while now the administrative head shall apply to town municipality, then Mayor readdresses the application to the combine. After the optimization, the contacts between Geghanush residents and the combine director have deteriorated,' Ivan Kostandyan said.
After the optimization, the fees of Kapan Ore Processing Combine are addressed to Kapan Community budget, while funds for social programs haven't been allotted to optimized Kapan community since the change of the combine owner in 2018 ('Chaarat Gold Holdings Limited' Company has a new owner). As Ivan Kostandyan noted when discussing the budget of Kapan Community for 2019, Kapan Combine haven't made allocations in the amount of 130 million AMD, which are designed to carry out social programs in the former Kapan Community.
It should be mentioned that according to the EITI First National Report, within the frames of social corporate responsibility, in 2016 Kapan Community was provided with 19,193,505 AMD while this figure for 2017 was 129,735,482 AMD. In 2017, Geghanush Village was provided with 8,635,482 AMD for the rehabilitation of drinking and technical water pipeline.
Geghanush hasn't developed any environmental problems before its optimization to have paid environmental fees directed to the village.
Geghanush residents listed the problems in the community needing solutions in the order of their priority: problems with water and problems with roads. They also noted the impact of Geghanush Tailing Dump on health in the village area proposing to conduct medical checkup in the village. 'If you stand next to the tailing dump, your head starts aching because of strong smell. If the wind is strong, the smell reaches the village. Our hands, legs are aching, while animals are not growing. We do want to understand whether the tailing dump has an impact on our health,' they said.
Geghanush residents are proposing:
1. To regularly inform the population on the impact of Shahumyan gold and polymetallic mine.
2. To estimate caused damages and to provide compensation to Geghanush residentiala area,
3. To rehabilitate the community road and waterline,
4. To ensure the relevant quality of drinking and irrigation water,
5. To give preference to Geghanush residents when employing workers at the combine,
6. To evaluate the harmful impact of the tailing dump on the health of the population by an independent medical institution,
7. To carry out the examination of soil and water to find out the concentration of heavy metals.
This material has been prepared within “Mining-Impacted Communities – Full Participants in EITI Process” project implemented 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.
19:53 May 20, 2019