A statement disseminated today by 26 NGOs from Armenia and 5 from Georgia asks Armenian authorities to take action and prevent the copper-molybdenum mining project set to take place on site, at least until losses the surrounding environment are re-evaluated.
The statement, dated Jan. 25, notes that the mine exploitation can lead to several hundred hectares of mountain forest loss, draining of water resources, land erosion and destruction of whole ecosystems, including the extinction of outlying plants and animals. Also noted in the letter is that in case of natural disasters or industrial accidents, trailings containing silver, rhenium, lead, arsenic, copper, molybdenum, zinc, sulfurous compounds and other chemicals will poison fields irrigated by Shnogh River and its tributaries, threatening food security and people’s health.
“We find it necessary for the authorities of the Republic of Armenia to cease the Teghut area exploitation project until the re-evaluation of losses to the surrounding environment and an impartial and comprehensive evaluation of the environmental impact is carried out in accordance with best international practices, and consultations with Georgian authorities and public begin on the possible cross-border impact as a result of Teghut exploitation.
“[Until] Georgian authorities ratify the Espoo Convention [on Environmental Impact Assessment], participate in consultations initiated by the government of the Republic of Armenia, uncovering the possible impact on the surrounding environment in a cross-border context,” reads the statement in part.