Technical Safety of Teghout Tailing Dump Contradicts RA Laws

Technical Safety of Teghout Tailing Dump Contradicts RA Laws


“EcoLur” Informational NGO is presenting the analysis of the legislative and technical reasons of the grounds of the emergency situation of Teghout tailing dump – the platform for disposing of industrial wastes of Teghout copper and molybdenum mine. The analysis has been carried out by Roza Julhakyan, PhD in Chemical Sciences, expert of AM10/ENP-PCA/EN/06 EU Twinning program.

The analysis is based on the existing Armenian legislation in force, the safety certificate of Teghout tailing dump, technical safety expert assessment opinion issued by ‘National Center for Technical Safety’ SNCO of RA Ministry for Emergency States, and additional materials received from RA Nature Protection Ministry.

The technical safety certificate of the tailing dump approved by ‘Teghout’ CJSC General Director on 9 February 2015 had been drawn up in an improper manner and doesn’t comply with the requirements of Article 4 of this law.

The certificate is missing the statutory required complete information and the main provisions on ensuring safety are violated.

The document doesn’t reflect the probability of potential man-made accidents in the tailing dump, their nature and scales, probable impact on employees, neighbouring population and environment, measures aim at their prevention and elimination. There is no part on how to ensure the protection of the environment, mechanisms of revealing man-made accidents or industrial accidents, the quantitative permissible indicators of the probability of man-made or industrial accidents laid down in the normative documents, analyses of accident developments.

The social, collective risks and risks of expected damage laid down in Article 13(3) of the law haven’t been assessed, which are as follows:

d) social risks which describe the scales of the potential accident and extent of the incurred damage,

e) collective risks, which describe the number of people suffering as a result of the accident, 

f) risks of expected damage, which describe the material losses generating due to the accident.

The certificate, instead of assessing any man-made accident, gives only a reference to the requirements of the law. Each chapter on risk assessment is completed with the description of the requirement of RA Law 'On State Regulation of Ensuring Technical Safety', i.e. the assessment of any risks is missing.


The positive expert opinion № 560- 1 issued on 26 May 2017 by 'National Center of Technical Safety' SNCO to hazardous industrial object 8/1-6724 of 'Teghout' CJSC on 26 May 2017 doesn't comply with the requirements of the Appendix to 'Procedure of Implementing Expert Assessment of Technical Safety' endorsed by the governmental resolution N 1359 – Ն dated on 22 September 2011. The opinion implies also about the design documents and certain imprecisions revealed in them about the fact of informing the SNCO about their elimination, Nevertheless, it doesn't mention what kind of imprecisions these are.

Serious omissions and derelictions have been ignored in the technical safety certificate of hazardous industrial object 8/1-6724 of 'Teghout' CJSC in the course of the expert assessment of the technical safety.

Examinations confirming the validity of the criteria and standards laid down in the documents haven't been carried out, as well as no measurements, examinations place have been carried out, no experimentation acts have been drawn up. No additional examinations have been carried out in regard to the analysis of the measures connected to the assessment of technical and industrial risks, their analysis and prevention.

As a result of not eliminating all the imprecision, non-objective assessment of risks, partial and non-objective implementation of expert assessment process, not adhering to the limitations of soil management requirements by 'Teghout' CJSC, the decrease in the sustainability indicators of the dam of the tailing dump led to the emergency state of the tailing dump and caused serious social and environmental problems in only 8 months after being issued a positive expert assessment opinion of technical safety.

The accumulation of these problems occurred under the protectionism of the previous authorities over 'Teghout' CJSC and their shadow intervention in the activities of the governmental departments, as a result of which the company carried out its activities without supervision of any competent governmental body ignoring the demand of mandatory compliance to the statutory sectorial norms, limitations and standards.

Besides the aforementioned circumstances, it's also a fact that RA Nature Protection has issued its positive expert assessment opinion № ԲՓ 135 to the EIA of Teghout Copper Smelting Combine and Copper and Molybdenum Mine submitted by 'Armenian Copper Program' CJSC for a term of 8 years (first stage). This term expired in 2015, nevertheless, so far the permit for the second stage of the mining operations haven't been acquired. That is since 2015 Teghout copper and molybdenum mine has been mined not adhering to the requirements of the Armenian environmental legislation.

Currently, when the operation of 'Teghout' CJSC is stopped and there is a new situation in regard to the process between the company and the Russian VTB Bank, 'property vs debt', the safety issue of the tailing dump must be solved drastically and finally. For this purpose, the government shall establish strict supervision assigning:

a'Teghout' CJSC

1. Regardless of the potential change in the owner of Teghout copper and molybdenum mine and its operational infrastructures,   to eliminate the emergency state of the dam of the tailing dump as soon as possible,

2. To draw up a package of design documentation for the further operation or reclaiming of the tailing dump, including the technical safety certificate developed in line with the legislative requirements, having assessed all the potential risks, having reflected the measures aimed sustainability of the dam of the tailing dump and excluding leaks.

3. To submit the documentation package for receiving the opinion on safety expert assessment to 'Technical Safety Center' SNCO of RA MES. 

4. To resume the operations of Teghout ore dressing combine exclusively in case of ensuring guarantees of technical and environmental safety of the tailing dump.

bTo 'Technical Safety Center' SNCO of RA MES:

1. After receiving the documentation package on the technical safety of the tailing dump by 'Teghout' CJSC, to organize the expert assessment exclusively under the procedure laid down in 'Regulation on Carrying out Expert Assessment of Technical Safety' endorsed by government resolution N 1359 – Ն on 22 September 2011.

2. To carry out examinations, measurements, examinations in place confirming the validity of the documental indicators and criteria in the hazardous industrial object of the tailing dump, to draw up relevant experimentation acts, to check the state-of-the-art of the methodologies selected for risk assessment and their effectiveness:

cto RA Nature Protection Ministry:

In a statutory manner to file a motion to RA Ministry for Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources to consider the option of terminating the soil management permit issued to 'Teghout' CJSCas the company has been operating the Teghout mine without having any positive opinion on the EIA of the second stage of the mining since 2015.

In case of re-operating the mine, to ensure the environmental impact expert assessment of the second stage for Teghout ore processing combine and copper and molybdenum mine in shortest term possible.

16:28 October 18, 2018


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