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No Filters Placed So Far in Alaverdi Copper Smelting Plant

Alaverdi copper smelter, belonging to Vallex Group, has been operating years without any filters, thereby emitting into the atmosphere sulfuric anhydride, heavy metals and compounds toxic for human organisms. About 25,000 tons of sulfuric anhydride were emitted till 2011, according to a statement issued by Ecolur Informational NGO.

With funds from the European Reconstruction and Development Bank, Vallex obtained filters for extracting sulfuric anhydride, but never placed them, explaining the low volume of production and absence of a sulfuric acid market. As for heavy metals and dust, this matter continues to be discussed.

“If we can put electrofilters in the chimney, we will reduce the emission of heavy metals into the atmosphere by 98% and inorganic dust, which spreads along with the smoke into the town’s air basin, will also be reduced by 80–83%,” said Artak Demirtchyan, Lori Regional Municipality Environmental Department Head, in his interview with “EcoLur.”

According to him, this proposal to Vallex Group is still under discussion, as it’s still unclear, if electrofilters are placed, where the trapped material will be stored or whether it will be possible to recover metals from the trapped material.