Ecolur.org reports that ‘Sos-Saqo’ LLC intends to operate a nepheline syenite deposit in the village of Alvanq in Armenia’s Syunik province. Nepheline syenite is a raw material for aluminum and high-quality cement. According to the project submitted by the company, the balanced reserves of nepheline syenites are 807.400 m3, industrial reserves – 650.000 m3. Mining volumes will annually make up 12,000 m3. Mine lifetime is 55 years.
Ecologists, however, are concerned that the mine operation bears risk of environmental damages, since it is located in a seismically unstable zone, where the probable magnitude of the quakes may reach 9 points out of Richter’s 12-point scale. The project says that the mine area is deprived of water and the only water resource is Malev tributary to the Aras river, which is located in a distance of 1 km. The mine area is deprived of vegetation. The project says that the local fauna is widely common in Armenia and the region doesn’t have any specially protected area in it.
Ecolur reminds that in 2016, Meghri residents addressed a letter to Armenian PM Tigran Sargsyan, opposing to the development of the Alvanq nepheline syenite deposit.
Note, in the Soviet period, the authorities wanted to exploit the Tezh Sar nepheline syenite deposit in the Kotayq province, but then they stepped back, as experts proved that if an aluminum combine were constructed for nepheline syenite development, all flora in a radius of 15-20 meters would be destroyed. Tezhsar developers attempted to restart the project in 2012 as well, nevertheless, environmentalists opposed this initiative because of the high risks associated with mine development. Armenia’s Nature Protection Ministry sent back the project submitted by ‘Alumina Corporation’ LLC for amendments and supplementing, but the new project was never put into operation.