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The only source of Mets Ayrum drinking water may remain under the tailings

19.04.2015
Nahatak tailing dump of Akhtala MPP is terrifying today; what if the only source of drinking water remains under the tailings.
Yesterday we visited Akhtala MPP tailing dump, where in recent months, especially in Mets Ayrum and Chochkan communities a new tailing is foreseen to be built on 40 hectares of land.Sahak Nazaryan, head of Mets Ayrum community, seeing us near the tailing dump, approached and began to mix the sequence of things and phenomena very skillfully, accusing the media and active environmentalists of spreading false rumors. He obviously hoped to misinform us, relying on the fact

that the operational significance of the land was not changed, continually distracting us from the idea that without any reasoning, without public and professional discussions and without an environmental impact assessment (EIA) positive conclusion they have undertook the agricultural land category change. It is not motivated, how a tailing dump should be built, the factory job specifications and the construction of a tailing dump is a complete process of successive stages and the MNP is the simultaneous impact of these three, which is needed to be assessed by the EIA documentation, and the old tailing dump is not yet reclaimed.

In addition, according to the Law on State Regulation of Technical Security, mining and exploitation of of dangerous industrial object for the Government Decree 711 (adopted 06 May 2010) is a comprehensive expertise is required. In addition, according to the RA Law on State Regulation of Technical Security, mining is a dangerous industrial object and a comprehensive expertise is required mine exploitation in accordance with the Government Decree N 711 (adopted 06 May 2010). It became clear to us that the rural village budget increases are important for the head of the community, as promised by the Akhtala MPP, but it is not known whether these promises are enough for the agricultural lands to be perished beneath the tailings, and if actually the losses and risks have been rated that Mets Ayrum community will incur having an unrecultivated tailings filled with heavy metals. Is there any guarantee whether the MPP will solve the community problems, or will cause new ones eliminating rural permanent jobs, contaminating soil and water.

A little later it became clear that the feared villagers who were dissatisfied with the fact that tailings would be built near the village, they would be built on agricultural lands. Villagers are unaware of everything as they are not invited to the meetings. The village mayor decides whom to call.

Today Nahatak tailing dump is terrifying, the tailings pipe was removed from the cordon to spare a room for 40m overloaded tailing dump, but the tails under high pressure don’t flow from about 10 m to the tailing dump but hit the canyon rocky slopes, disperse and turn to atomized tiny droplets, part of which surely spreads in the air and pulls into the environment, to the residential gardens and fields of an immediate vicinity.

Drinking water is brought to Mets Ayrum village, which is near the Najatak Tailing dump, with hand or with a donkey from the only source in the ravine, where the tails reach, the villagers are worried what if the source remains under the tails.

Greta Gabrielyan
Chemist, an independent expert
Translated by Marine Mazmanyan