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Heated public discussion in Meliqgyugh

19.06.2015
On June 16, 2015 the session hall of the Meliqgyugh municipality in Aragatsotn region was crowded. Here was the village administration’s entire staff, one member of the village council, villagers, “Mego-Gold” company employees, coordinator of Aparan Aarhus Center.
On the initiative of “Mego gold” LLC the community was presented with the initial evaluation application of Aragatsotn region Tukhmanuk mining complex enrichment plant upgrades, tailing protecting dam, dry tailings storage dam. The representative from the mining company while presenting the planned activities mentioned that “Mego gold” LLC has

received a permit for mine operation, exploited it, build enrichment plant, tailings. According to the representative of the company the power and the technological state of the plant economically did not meet their expectations the company decided to rebuild and re-equip the plant, modernize the gold recovery methods, increase plant productivity, up to 306 000 t/year, refuse wet tailing dams and pass to a dry method of tailings storage after having fortified the dams of the former tailing and constructing new ones.

Note that the first part of the project was held in a peaceful atmosphere, which cannot be said about the discussion. The discussion was heated, the torrent of questions was asked to the company representatives by the villagers related to the tailing dam and mine location, open and closed modes of mine exploitation, plant and grinding capacity (as of the ore processed per hour), the negative impact on the environment and public health, the proposals of the planned activities suggested by during the former discussions and many other issues.

Many participants were angry because the company’s representatives gave incomplete answers to the questions; so many questions were simply left unanswered. Anger grew when one of the residents, also the Aarhus Centre Coordinator asked whether the construction, which has been going on for a month in the mine area, was legal and whether the head of the community has given permission for that activity and whether the village council was aware of it. The company representative told not to talk about this subject because the issue has nothing to do with that day’s discussion question, which is enrichment plant upgrades initial evaluation application and advised to apply with a written request to “Mego-Gold” company or the Ministry of Nature Protection.

During the discussion, some residents expressed their concern over “Mego Gold” LLC activities, the damages caused to the village from mining activities, mine operators defaulting on their obligations.

Note that on December 11, 2014 N BP 93 NEGATIVE CONCLUSION was given as a result of EIA expertise on the amended working project of Tukhmanuk gold mine (central station) represented by “Mego_Gold” LLC. In addition, “Mego Gold” Company’s rights under the contract with the public authorities and the mining legal documents, expired in January 2015 and will have been considered terminated.

Natalya Manukyan
Coordinator of Aparan Aarhus Center
Tel: (+374) 94 224926
E-mail: aarhusaparan@mail.ru , info_aparan@aarhus.am

Translated by Marine Mazmanyan