Local residents and NGOs dealing with environmental issues are anxious about the prospect of felling dozen of thousands trees at Shahumyan district of Kapan city, regional center of the RoA Syunik Marz. Syunik Marz is situated in the South of Armenia and occupies 15% of the territory of the Republic. It is rich in flora and fauna, forested and water resources. It is also rich in certain mineral resources and is considered to be the richest mining district with 9 metallic and 38 non-metallic deposits. It is natural, where there is mining industry there is pollution. Unfortunately by pollution Syunik region is also at the first place in Armenia. The region's water, forests, land resources are bearing negative effects of enterprises tailing dumps, industrial wastewaters and sewage disposals. Disastrous ecological situation in Syunik first and foremost is conditioned by activities of a number of big mining industry enterprises, including “Deno Gold Mining” Company, which is exploiting by a subsurface method the Shahumyan gold polymetallic mine at the administrative territory of Kapan community. We would like to mention that the following issues were raised in frames of the public monitoring carried out in May- November 2009 by CEE Bank Watch International NGO, “Ecolur” Informational NGO, “For Ensuring Ecological Security and Democracy” and “Khostoup” local NGOs. The objective of the monitoring was to find out how much “Deno Gold Mining” Company fulfils its obligations defined by the legislation and signed agreements, whether the Company is willing to bear environmental and social responsibility, how the control over the Company’s activity is exercised and how to involve public in different decision-making processes. The monitoring results showed that “Deno Gold Mining” Company does not display any positive rating at the all aspects. In 2010 “Deno Gold Mining” Company had presented a project proposal to the RoA Government for an open operation of Shahumyan gold polymetallic mine. If the project is approved, Kapan city with 45.6 thousand populations will receive mine exploiting in an open-cast method and will appear under the influence of explosions, dust and toxic elements containing rocks. Currently in conditions of mine subsurface exploitation air pollution in Kapan exceeds the norm in several times. The mine exploitation by the open-cast method will be disastrous for local residents. In addition for the purpose of mine exploitation by the open-cast method 50,000 trees will be cut down, of which 90 percent are fruit bearing trees and 20 percent are listed in the Red Book.Referring to the issue on January 13 a discussion was organized at Yerevan Aarhus Center with participation of representatives of NGOs and young activists the aim of which was to plan the further steps of the ecologists against the mine exploitation by the open method. According to the presentations of the participants, there must be a governmental decision on land category alteration in order to cut trees at the mentioned area and that is worrying because in such cases decisions are adopted by the following definition: to recognize the land as priority benefit of the public. The participants of the discussion decided to send a letter to Canada, to the Directorate of “Deno Gold Mining” Company, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), to which the company intends to apply in order to get a loan. ”The bank must observe the social and environmental policy it declared and not to allocate any loans if they don’t comply with this policy”- stressed Inga Zarafyan, the head of “Ecolur” informational NGO. It was also decided to launch an active struggle at the stage of public hearings over the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) project draft. Meantime young activists proposed to hold a protest action in Kapan and to conduct a sit-in in the forest. The Aarhus Centers will also join to the struggle and support to non-governmental organizations as far as possible.
Armenia - Disastrous ecological situation in Syunik
Publisher:Armenian Aarhus Centers Network
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