In Residents' Opinions, Amulsar Project Implementation Is Environmental Crime

In Residents' Opinions, Amulsar Project Implementation Is Environmental Crime


In the process of Amulsar project, the constitutional right of Jermuk residents has been violated – their right to express their position towards Amulsar gold mining project, which has an immediate impact on Jermuk resort town.

'We do understand what kind of disaster it is for the republic and our town. We have applied to the government requesting to send a committee, which will examine our air and water and to see to what extent mining is compatible with the resort town, what kind of omissions there are. The PM has responded, there is an inspection group working in Amulsar, which will issue an opinion and I think that eventually a decision will be reached for the favor of people,' Jermuk Aldermen's Council Member Hasmik Sargsyan said in her interview with EcoLur. Jermuk Aldermen's Council stated that the people having issued permits for Amulsar project, shall be held liable.

Jermuk resident Edmond Aghabekyan shares this opinion, who together with other people have been blocking the roads leading to Amulsar mine for over one month. 'In my opinion, these officials must be made liable, as we already live in a country where justice is restored,' Edmond Aghabekyan said and mentioned, 'The rights of Jermuk residents have been violated: Jermuk wasn't recognized as an impacted community till 20165, but the mine is located at a distance of 10 km. Since 2016 it has been recognized as an impacted community, but no hearings have been held. Still not having the mine developed, Jermuk is already covered with dust because of their construction works: after rains there is mud on the cars, which has never happened.'

'Jermuk is considered to be a resort town compliant with all international standards, while the mine changes the significance of Jermuk turning it into a mining residential area. Still in 2012 we expressed our negative attitude that people won't leave for Jermuk for treatment any longer, as there is a mine in such vicinity with heavy metals, dust, air pollution and water pollution. Their EIA doesn't present the risks, which are being detected: it's a violation. The scientists have expressed their opinions what kind of dangers it may pose – acidic drainage, pollution with heavy metals…nobody can say what will happen in the course of explosions. This is not only a problem of Jermuk residents but the problem of our whole nation,' Hasmik Sargsyan said.

'We don't want the miners to live in our resort houses: they are designed for tourists and holidaymakers. Jermuk has a huge potential not only for being a resort town but also developing different branches of the tourism. We have a number of infrastructures, which can support the development of agrotourism and ecotourism in Armenia,' 'Jermuk Youth Center' Director Syuzanna Avetisyan said, 'If the problems and risks raised by the environmentalists are approved by the new government, those bodies, organizations and individuals having signed under the permits of Amulsar project must be strictly punished.'

It should be mentioned that RA Criminal Investigation Committee has initiated a criminal case based on concealing information on environmental pollution in the documentation of Amulsar project.

'We are opening roads only for driving the machines out of the mine area. Our protest demonstration will only stop, when Lydian leaves. We only want to preserve our health, our Jermuk and water. The only idea is not to have any mine here, which should be stated at an official level,' the locals said. Gndevaz residential area suffered most from the implementation of Amulsar project. 'The drinking water aqueduct has been damaged three times, dust from land works gets spread all over the territory.'

Environmental hazards are too extreme: the scientists are beating alarm signals on these hazards. Naturally, this is an environmental disaster and can be considered an environmental crime in our region. The whole Armenian population will feel this damage, when it will subsequently lead to the pollution of our freshwater reserves, two rivers – Vorotan and Arpa, Spandaryan and Kechout reservoirs, polluted acidic water will flow into Sevan. If the composition of Lake Sevan water changes to some extent, it will be a disaster for the whole Armenian population. The desirable outcome for us is the closedown and non-operation of Amulsar project,' Gndevaz resident Mihrdat Nersisyan said.

Amulsar gold mining project implementation has violated human rights to health and living in a healthy environment, right to select one's own activities, access to information. Amulsar project risks, violations of rights and people in charge of them, as well as fighting measures are presented in the register of violation of 'green' rights by Amulsar gold mining project.

21:26 July 25, 2018


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