Coronavirus Escalated Social Problems in Shnogh and Teghout

Coronavirus Escalated Social Problems in Shnogh and Teghout

The enlarged community of Shnogh in Lori Region has not been left out of the challenges posed by the coronavirus epidemic. The epidemic has escalated by the tense social situation in the community due to the problems of Teghout copper-molybdenum mine development project. Land areas were taken from about 420 families in Shnogh and Teghout settlements for the development of Teghout copper andmolybdenum mine, whereas those residents are deprived of the opportunity to engage in agriculture.

The social situation has become more complicated because of the reduction of jobs related with the epidemic, the inability to work abroad. The sale of agricultural products has decreased in the community. "Incomes have decreased, I have honey, there is no buyer, the number of the buyers has reduced. Exports are at zero,” Shnogh resident Levon Alikhanyan told EcoLur.

The epidemic also had a negative impact on the service sector, business services, which caused financial problems, whereas the only major employer in the community, Teghout Mining CJSC, cannot provide jobs for all the unemployed, which is why there is a regular wave of protests in the community.

"People do not have the opportunity to earn money from abroad or work abroad, they do not have the opportunity to solve their daily problems with agriculture, because the land areas of Teghout were sold to the company in the past. And here the company is obliged to create an alternative employment opportunity for the residents of the given community outside the mining industry. After all, not everyone can be engaged in mining, after all, mining is not eternal," Oleg Dulgaryan said, President of "Community Consolidation and Support Center" NGO based in Lori Region.

Residents are also prioritizing establishing new businesses in their area․ "Another production can be established.”Teghout" CJSC will be closed one day, what about the future? "Or there are women who do not want to work as cleaners in Teghout CJSC, there should be a confectionery factory, a sewing factory or a milk factory where they can work," Teghout residents said.

Whoever owns land in the community is somewhat secured, whose land was taken by Teghout CJSC needs a job. But those who owned the land also complained about the lack of irrigation water. "It is already several months since not a drop of rain has fallen, the water in the river has become shallower."After all it is already several years since so many trees have been cut down, which can also affect that," Teghout residents told EcoLur.

The virus has restricted people's right to be informed and to participate in decision-making. On August 10, 2020, the first round of public hearings of "Teghout Mining" CJSC on "Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment for Construction of a Solid Waste Disposal Site" took place in Shnogh Municipality, which was attended by few people. Residents who spoke to EcoLur did not even remember that such hearings took place.

The issue of security of Armenia's second largest tailing dump, Teghout, has not been discussed in the community. Even the community head was not aware of the results of the research of the Bulgarian company “Geotechmin” on the sustainability of Teghout tailing dump.

December 07, 2020 at 12:29