The National Academy of Sciences’ Center for Noosphere Ecological Studies has detected heavy metals in the hair of 12 children living in the villages of Lernadzor and Kajaran in Syunik marz (province), reports local environmental NGO EcoLur.
EcoLur highlights the fact that Lernadzor is only 2-3 km away from Kajaran, which is built on the Kajaran copper and molybdenum mine, “one of the world’s largest mines developed by Zangezur Copper and Molybdenum Combine [Plant].”
“The open mine where ore is mined in an opencast manner by exploding areas is also located within the precincts of the town. The 36-kilometer-long tailing pipe stretches across the gorge, then Lernadzor above Kajaran, where ZCMC tails are dumped into Artsvanik tailing dump. The tailing pipe is rather old, and it requires capital repair. ZCMC increased production output up to 15 million tons in 2010 (the production output was not more than 7-8 million tons before the privatization in 2004), and the ZCMC intends to make this figure 18 million in 2011. The tailing pipe just can’t endure such a load. In case of any breakdown, the content flows into the gorge, then river and then community land areas,” reports EcoLur, which notes that residents plant crops on this polluted land and thus, heavy metals get into human bodies.
The NGO notes that it raised its concerns with Armenia’s healthy ministry in June of this year, but it has yet to receive the promised data on prevalence of illness in the region from the ministry.