Approximately 30 Georgian and Armenian non governmental organizations demand from their governments to carry out corresponding measures on protection of the population and environment from negative impact of project "Teghut" on the territory of Armenia where local company Armenian Copper Program extracts copper and molybdenum.

This fact is noted in the joint statements of NGOs of two countries which was disseminated at the end of last week.

The question is about Teghut copper-molybdenum deposit which is situated near the border with Georgia.

"The deposit's production wastes will increase greatly in Armenia to 180-200 mln cubic meters", the statement says.

According to data of Armenian Mass Media, as a result of extraction the soil, air and water will be polluted, it will liquidate local bio variety and the ecological system. Besides, as a result of felling the risk of floods and landslides will increase.

"The biggest risk is connected with construction of the storage which must protect the ecological system from great quantity  of toxic wastes. Experts say that toxic substances leakage will cause irreversible damage not only to territories of Armenia and Georgia, but wasters will pollute the near-border river Debed", the statement reads.

Georgian NGOs are concerned with the fact that during the project elaboration trans-border influence of this production was not taken into consideration.

"The project documentation of company Armenian Copper Program does not envisage a plan of reaction to emergency situations, which in case of breakdown will cause heavy consequences for the two countries' population", the statement says.

Armenian and Georgian NGOs stress that in the process   of granting a permission the Armenian government violated completely its commitments under Aarhus Convention.

The NGOs call on the government of Armenia to suspend implementation of the project to research comprehensively impact on environment, ensure discussion of this issue on the basis of international practice. Besides, the non-governmental organizations call on the governments of the two countries to begin consultations on this issue.

According to Armenian Mass Media, on November 1, 2007 the government of Armenia approved Armenian Copper Program (ACP) of exploitation of Teghut deposit in Lori district for 30-40 years.  It is planned to extract annually 25-30 thousand tons of copper and 800 tons of molybdenum that will total 40-50% of total quantity of copper extraction and 20% of molybdenum extraction in the republic. A license for the deposit exploitation was granted  for 25 years in 2001.

The deposit exploitation must begin  in 2011. The project resulted in negative response by most ecological public organizations.

February 22, 2011