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On May 8 were held the public hearings on Armanis gold-polymetallic mine expansion draft

The recent public hearings on Armanis gold-polymetallic mine expansion was attended by the representatives of the administration of “Sagamar” CJSC, municipality of Stepanavan, Lori regional administration, Armanis residents and coordinator of Stepanavan Aarhus Center.

The hearings began with commenting the letter of “Sagamar” CJSC addressed to Sargis Gharakeshishyan, Mayor of Stepanavan. The letter states that in July 2014 the specialists of “Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety” have conducted radiological monitoring in “Sagamar” CJSC’s and

surrounding areas. Research showed that the average amount of radiation background is 0.069 roentgen, which is significantly lower than the average background considering as safe (0,15-0,2 roentgen). In Yerevan, for example, the speakers claimed that the average background radiation amount is 0.17, which is 2.5 times higher than at the surveyed area. But Aramanis residents did not agree claiming that they did not believe the study results, since both the villagers and the local government representatives have not participate in it.

G. Ushkov, director of “Sagamar” CJSC responded that they do their best that the surveys will be accurate, while the research conclusion act is in the municipality.

R. Kocharyan, Chief of Staff of the Municipality mentioned that was not their fault that the act has not been presented to the public, committing to provide it. Many of the villagers marked that their health has deteriorated in recent years, they have headaches and hypertension. The mine officials insisted that the headaches and the pressure increase caused during the years and by no means can be associated with the operation of the mine.

G. Ushkov passed to the land purchase and exchange issue, as for the expansion of the mine is necessary approximately 200 hectares of land. But the owners unanimously refused to sell the lands, arguing that the land is their only means of livelihood. Besides that they argued that in the case of the mine expansion the dust will increase and cause damage to the village. G. Ushkov, chief executive director of the Company replied that they are not going to take the lands by force. Since the representatives of the Environmental Ministry did not say anything about the study and conclusion of the EIA draft, Stepanavan Aarhus Center asked them why the EIA study documents was not placed on the website a month before according to the procedure, why did not sent a copy to the municipality, asking to provide her a copy available at hand to familiarize.

However, the representatives of the MNP refused to provide a copy of the document stating that “While the EIA is carried out, but we have not placed on the website, do not send to the City Hall and cannot provide to you, because the lands have not been sold yet.”

The Aarhus Centre Coordinator asked whether in the EIA attention was paid to the catchment areas, as water sources of these areas are supplied with a variety of communities, as drinking water. Highlighting the issue the MNP representative responded that they have adequate hydrological maps.
The hearings ended in the building, but outside many participants continued to discuss unfinished issues.

Manya Meliqjanyan
Coordinator of Stepanavan Aarhus Center
Tell: (+374)93 315108
E-mail: manya_lore@yahoo.com
Translated by Anush Beybutyan