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Attention on Teghut Forest: Environmentalists Invite Public to Come See for Themselves

The “Teghut Tour” set to take place on Jan. 15 will allow members of the public to become acquainted with the issues related to the destruction of Teghut forest — that is, it’s better to have seen the situation once than to have heard about it a thousand times, Peace Dialogue NGO member Mikayel Mkhitaryan, one of the initiators of the campaign, told Epress.am.

“This is a special form of struggle, and I think that such campaigns will serve their purpose. Considering the fact that mining has picked up greatly in Armenia today, and in this sense, Teghut is [a] very current [issue], we decided to take urgent action. As long as it’s not too late, we have to take measures. Currently, 5% of Teghut’s forests have been carelessly destroyed; if it continues this way, very soon the mine will be operational and applying any measures will be meaningless,” he said.

Mkhitaryan said that all those who are interested can hop on buses in Yerevan to Vanadzor.

“In Vanadzor, we will organize a 15-minute demonstration, then we’ll go to Teghut. We’ll walk a certain area by foot so that people see the tailings and understand on site what threat rapid developments in mining today really represent,” he said.

Asked whether such campaigns will be ongoing, Mkhitaryan said:

“We are constantly keeping an eye on these types of activities taking place in different regions and we are in contact with our partners on the ground. At the moment, it’s relatively calm in Kajaran, while the situation in Teghut is more perilous and explosive. Anywhere where the situation grows exponentially we will absolutely respond.”

According to the activist, 150–200 people have joined this campaign on the popular social networking site Facebook.

Recall, environmentalists have been fighting to save Teghut forest for 3 years. They have repeatedly said that the Teghut copper mine project, which is being implemented by Armenian Copper Programme CJSC, is destroying 357 hectares of forest in Armenia’s Lori marz (province), according to official figures. According to experts, however, mine exploitation is destroying more than 1,000 hectares of forest, many rare species of flora and fauna and rivers, and poses a great threat of contamination of underground water.