To: Dundee Precious Metals Inc. Management
Government of Armenia
Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Armenia
Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia
Ministry of Health of Armenia
Ministry of Emergency States of Armenia
Ministry of Territorial Administration of Armenia
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Copy to Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper
“Deno Gold Mining Company” CJSC (Deno Gold Mining Company is owned 100% by Dundee Precious Metals Inc. Canadian Company) intends to proceed to opencast development of Shahumyan gold-polymetallic mine in Kapan (Armenia). Though the official opencast development project hasn’t been submitted for environmental impact expert assessment to Nature Protection Ministry of Armenia, its technical part has already been discussing in the government bodies. Taking into consideration risks for population health in Kapan Town (Syunik Region, Armenia), which can increase by several times in case of opencast development of Shahumyan gold-polymetallic mine, we call on all stakeholders, i.e. Dundee Precious Metals Inc. management, Government of Armenia, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Armenia, Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia, Ministry of Health of Armenia, Ministry of Emergency States of Armenia, Ministry of Territorial Administration of Armenia, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other financial institutions that may become potential investors to refuse from considering the project on Shahumyan gold-polymetallic mine opencast development.
Shumyan mine is located in the administrative territory of Kapan Town, which is already on the verge of environmental disaster due to long-lasting problems existing in the mining sphere.
Kapan is surrounded from all sides by objects of different hazard classes, such as
1. Dumps from Kapan Combine owned by “Deno Gold Mining Company” CJSC are stored in the territory of Kapan.
2. Geghanush tailing dump owned by “Deno Gold Mining Company” CJSC. Its exploitation term is estimated for 15 years with a production capacity of 600,000 tons of processed ore per year. In case of opencast development, the production capacity is supposed to increase from 2 to 25 times. Where these dumps must be discharged? There is no area either in Kapan, or in the surroundings.
3. Artsvanik tailing dump belongs to Zangezour Copper and Molybdenum Combine, but it is located next to Kapan. It has already 150 million cubic meters of tails accumulated inside.
4. Another two closed tailing dumps owned by Zangezour Copper and Molybdenum Combine are located along the road leading from Kapan to Kajaran. Reclaiming layer is about to minimum and tails are washed in environment.
5. The Voghji River runs across Kapan, while waters mixed with tails and dumps flow into this river astride. In Kapan section the Voghji River is one of the most polluted rivers in Armenia. There is a variety of heavy metals and toxic elements in all these abovementioned objects. These toxic elements don’t disappear, dissolve or break down, but accumulate in the soil; they are transferred with water, precipitate in environment with dusts from dumps. Eventually, together with food and water they get into human organism and cause genetic mutations, affect immune and reproductive systems and bone tissues.
6. Radiation: In a distance of 17-18 kilometers from Kapan drilling works for uranium reserves exploration have been launched. Besides, as it’s known poly-metallic mines containing gold and silver also contain radionuclides. Opencast development of such mines will certainly bring to increase in radiation background in whole Kapan.
Social protection system from effects caused by poor ecology is missing in our country. We don’t have any preventive measures for people employed in harmful industries. What to say about the protection of the whole population in Kapan and people from neighboring villagers who will be directly affected by environmental blow from opencast development.
The social part of project on opencast development also causes concerns. Multiple increases in output suppose a fast lifetime for this project and specialists familiar with the mine already speak about this.
The companies have arrived and will leave when the reserves of the mine get exhausted. We will have to start another life in ecologically dead zone, on the spot which is a dump of toxic dumps.
Our Earth is very small. Everything occurring in one place has its respond in another place. Maybe one day people from developed countries will have to escape from global catastrophes in small countries. Let’s keep our country for the sake of everybody and for the sake of future.
Silva Adamyan, “Center for Bird Lovers” NGO
Arman Vermishyan, “Burg” Youth Environmental Center NGO
Inga Zarafyan, “EcoLur” Informational NGO
Rafayel Asryan, “For Ensuring Ecological Safety and Developing Democracy” NGO
Ararat Alikhanyan, the Aarhus Center in Dilijan
Gevorg Petrosyan, “Biosphere” NGO
Hrayr Svazyan, “EcoDar” NGO
February 08, 2011