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Armanis mine is expanding
Armanis mine is one of the largest gold-polymetallic mines in Armenia. It is located in Lori marz 7.5 km to the west of Stepanavan city and 1.5 km to the north-west of Arman village. The mine is connected to Stepanavan city with a 7.5 km-long paved road. The area is at the foot of Bazum mountain range, the absolute height in the central part is up to 1400-1620m, and in the suburbs it is up to 1400m. The water chain is comprised of the Chknagh and Debed rivers.The mine belongs to polymetallic formation in its mineral composition and formation conditions and with relatively high concentrations of gold and silver.

In the result of research works in the mine 3 natural types of ores was found copper-gold, copper-polymetallic and gold-polymetallic, which respectively make-up 16%, 34% and 50% of the mine total reserves. Armanis gold-polymetallic underground mine is exploited by “Sagamar” CJSC. The mine exploitation began in 2004 and was intensively exploited up to 2011.

On February 23 a public discussion was held in Armanis referring the mine area and the open mine expansion projects. The discussion was attended by the deputy mayor of Stepanakert, the architect, the coordinator of Stepanavan Aarhus Centre, representatives of the Ministry Nature Protection, Armanis residents, director, deputy director, the geologist and the ecologist of Armanis industrial gold-polymetallic mine.

Mine geologist represented the new project, in accordance which the mine area will be expanded to 70 hectares, of which 40 hectares toward the Armanis, 30 hectares towards Urasar. In future the new part of the plant will work in an open pit. Then Mr. Arkadi Yakovlevich, vice president of the plant, made a speech, who indicated that they will undertake the maximum to minimize the further impact on the environment. He said that in future the plant will work with the most modern equipments, water cannon cars will also be used for watering the roads.

A number of questions were raised by the participants. The deputy mayor, Mr. Rostom Kocharyan demanded not to close the roads so that the bovine animals could freely move to pastures. The coordinator of the Aarhus Center Mrs. Manya Melikjanyan raised many questions related to environmental fees, ground water leakage, the existence of endemic species in the expansion area and deforestation. Convincing answers were given to all the questions though the EIA document is still being studied. The coordinator also reminded of the fact that the Armanis school yard was contaminated with mercury and heavy metals mining waste, which were removed, but the school yard was not totally cleaned from toxic substances.

The administration of “Sagamar” CJSC easily represented the mining new project, new financial investments, mine expansion and the prospects. Here a question arises how the Armanis residents will react to the fact that they must leave their homes. Therefore, subsequently public discussions will be held.

Manya Melikjanyan
Coordinator of Stepanavan Aarhus Center
Tel. (+374) 93 315108
E-mail: manya_lore@yahoo.com
Translated by Marine Mazmanyan