Kartchevan River Pollution with Agarak Combine Wastewaster Resumed after Combine Was Issued Positive EIA Opinion

Kartchevan River Pollution with Agarak Combine Wastewaster Resumed after Combine Was Issued Positive EIA Opinion

For several days now, the wastewater of "Agarak Copper and Molybdenum Combine" CJSC has been flowing into the Kartchevan River, damaging the river's ecosystem. In his interview with EcoLur, an Agarak resident said that this morning the river was polluted again with wastewater.

The alarm signals about the pollution of the Kartchevan River with mining wastewater started after June 22, 2020 when RA Ministry of Environment issued a positive conclusion to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Working Plan for Expansion and Re-equipment of Agarak Copper and Molybdenum Mine in 2020.

There is a clear requirement in the opinion: "Eliminate water leakage from the circulating system and tailings into the open basin, such as the Kartchevan River and the Araks River." The plant should be fully operational by 2021 with three operating tailing dumps, but this does not mean that the company has been allowed to discharge mining wastewater into the river by 2021. The other requirement of the expert opinion says: “It is necessary to carry out the water use in accordance with  RA legislation, not to hinder the drinking-domestic irrigation water supply of Agarak and Kartchevan settlements by the company's activities." However, due to the pollution, the water of the Kartchevan River, which was used by the locals for irrigation, cannot be used for that purpose. As a result of mining activities, the Kartchevan River has long been classified as a river with Class-5 pollution.

 According to the expert opinion given to "Agarak Copper and Molybdenum Combine" CJSC, the volume of ore extraction from Agarak Copper and Molybdenum Mine increased by 1 million, from 3.5 million tons to 4.5 million tons. As a result of re-equipping Agarak Combine, in case of ensuring 4.5 million tons / year of productivity, the number of tails directed to the tailing dump will be 2,534,062 cubic meters/year. The total volume of tailing dumps is 80.45 million cubic meters. As of April 29, 2020, the total volume of tails accumulated in the tailing dump is 46.7 million cubic meters, and the residual volume is 33.75 million cubic meters. Thus, the remaining volumes of tails will ensure the operation of the plant for 13.4 years.

July 17, 2020 at 16:10