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Strongly Acidic Stream Flows from Amulsar

Should the Amulsar open-pit mine start to operate, acid rock drainage will be the most serious and long term issue for the water quality of the region, states “Armenian Environmental Front.” The press statement released by the civic initiative says that they were informed by locals in Amulsar that a stream with a high potential of acid generation flows through the North-Western slope of the mountain into Darb tributary of Arpa river. The volunteers of Armecofront visited the site and took a water sample which was later handed to “Standard Dialog” LLC’s certified lab for testing.

According to test results, the pH (hydrogen indicator) of the water exceeded the neutral norm 7 and entered into a highly acidic state, wherein the indicator for pH was 3,52. This means that there is a serious acid generating potential in this site which will be multiplied in the event of potential exploitation of a mine in this area.

“Availability of 17 metals and sulfates was also determined for the water sample, which we compared with the norms and standards of RA Government’s decree N 75-N of January 27 of 2011, by which the government set water quality norms for each watershed management area depending on the location and by which the waters of Arpa river’s basin were classified “good” waters of 2nd category.

Test results suggest variation from these norms

Sulfates exceeded the norm 2,2 times amounting to 36,4 mg/l against 16,4. Of the heavy metals, availability of cadmium exceeded the norm 1,4 times amounting to 1,4 mcg/l , of copper – 4,4 times amounting to 93 mcg/l, of iron 102,8 times amounting to 7,403 mg/l, of aluminum – 81,7 times amounting to 11756, 6 mcg/l, of manganese – 233,4 times, amounting to 2801,1 mcg/l. The availability of other metals was within the above-stated norms.

These data were obtained as a result of tests of 1 sample taken from 1 stream. It is not clear whether these waters have already altered their composition as a result of man-made activities held in the site for the past 13 years.

It is scientifically still unsubstantiated that the potential operation of the open-pit mine will not intensify the existing acid drainage and will not bring about irreversible pollution of the most important water resources of Armenia and degradation of important hydro-engineering structures.

It is noteworthy that the payment of the lab tests was done from funds donated for the protection of Amulsar mountain and amounted to 50100 AMD,” states the press release.