Whether Mets Ayrum Residents Will Live in Clean and Healthy Environment in 2.5 Years?: "Nahatak" Tailing Dump Reclamation Project at Ministry

Whether Mets Ayrum Residents Will Live in Clean and Healthy Environment in 2.5 Years?: "Nahatak" Tailing Dump Reclamation Project at Ministry

Akhtala Mining and Processing Plant CJSC has submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report to Environment Ministry.

"Nahatak" tailing dump is located in the administrative territory of Mets Ayrum settlement, Akhtala enlarged community, Lori Region, only a few tens of meters away from residential houses. For years, the local population has been suffering from the negative impact of the tailings dam, deteriorating health, and the environment is constantly exposed to chemical pollution.

According to the EIA report submitted by Akhtala Mining and Processing Plant CJSC, the reclamation will take 2.4 years. Akhtala Community Head Arkady Tamazyan, after the regular public hearing of the EIA project of Nahatak tailing dump reclamation, even expressed an opinion that there is a possibility that the the land areas of the tailing dump could be used for agricultural purposes in the future.

Akhtala OPC also owns two closed tailing dumps in Akhtala. Reclamation works have been carried out on "Nazik" tailing dump. These two tailings are objects of chemical pollution: the reclamation layer has almost disappeared, the upper layer of the tails has been opened. Investigations conducted near these tailing dumps have shown contamination with chemical elements typical of Akhtala OPC waste.

According to the EIA report, the company has introduced dry tail storage technology at the Akhtala Ore Processing Plant and instead of storing tails in the tailing dump, currently the tails are stored in the mined area of the open pit (with 8-10% humidity).

It should be noted that the report on the environmental impact assessment of the tails storage project in the extracted area of ​​the Akhtala ore processing plant was issued on 14.11.2017 by RA Ministry of Nature Protection. According to the expert opinion no BP 100, the first stage of the reclamation of the Nahatak tailing dump should have started in October 2018.

However, this work was not carried out due to the ineffectiveness of the dry tail storage program. And the company continued to fill the tails with Nahatak tailing dump, this raising the tailings dam, which the locals opposed.

How will Nahatak tailing dump be recycled?

According to the EIA report, all costs for the reclamation of the tailing dump will be borne by Akhtala OPC. The tailings area is planned to be divided into three parts, and the reclamation works will be carried out in two stages. In the first stage, it is planned to reclaim the actual dry surface of the tailings pond and the dried horizontal platform. In the second phase, the currently not yet dried platform and pond located below the dam will be reclaimed.

The company preferred to cover the tailing dump with a fertile layer of soil. For this purpose, it intends to use 28580 cubic meters of fertile soil removed occassionally during the construction of the Alaverdi-Akhtala highway.

In the second stage of reclamation, the works will start after the wet surface of the tailings dam dries naturally. "Drainage of the tailing dump will lead to additional pollution of the Debed River with industrial wastewater. Works at this stage can be started only after the final drying of the wet surface of the tailing dump, when it will be possible to operate heavy equipment in this area," the authors of the project said.

It is estimated that it will take at least 1.3-1.5 years for the water accumulated in the pond to evaporate and reach the appropriate level of surface drying.

According to the project reclamation, there will be dust emissions during bulldozer leveling of surfaces, unloading of soil, vegetation layer, excavator work, burning of diesel fuel. During reclamation, substances belonging to classes 2-4 of the hazard will be released into the atmosphere, in particular nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, soot, sulfur dioxide, etc. According to the company's preliminary calculations, the economic damage due to the materials emitted into the atmosphere will amount to 355,400 AMD.

In order to exclude the entry of animals and people into the reclaimed area, it is planned to install a 2-meter high fence along the entire perimeter of the tailing dump, on which warning signs should be posted.

July 21, 2021 at 17:13