Thursday, October 17 2019 13:50
Naira Badalian

Mine owners in Armenia may be punished with a minuscule penalty for  environmental damage - Minister

Mine owners in Armenia may be punished with a minuscule penalty for  environmental damage - Minister

ArmInfo.The outflow of waste into the waters of the Voghchi River occurred due to a pipe break in the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine going to the tailing dump.   This was reported to journalists by Minister of the Environment Eric  Grigoryan on October 17 after a government meeting.

Earlier, before the Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan  said that this morning in an emergency in the Syunik region -  polluted water flowed from the tailing dump into the waters of the  Voghchi River below the cities of Kapan and Kajaran, from which the  river turned brown. It turned out that the waste storage at the  Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Plant near the village of Nerkin Giratakh  was damaged. As the Minister of Emergency Situations of Armenia Felix  Tsolakyan stated, local rescuers informed about water pollution - the  owners of the tailing dump themselves tried to hide this fact. Before  the rescuers arrived at the scene, the damaged area of the waste  storage was repaired.

According to Grigoryan, employees of the regional structure of the  Inspectorate for Nature Protection and Subsurface Resources took  water samples from the river. The health inspection authority also  examines the samples taken. Soon the amount of damage to the  environment will be established, on the basis of which the amount of  compensation will also be determined.

At the same time, as the Minister admitted, the current regulation on  restoration of environmental damage needs to be substantially  revised. So, the legislator has set such ridiculous tariffs for  damages that it is often more profitable for the owner of the mine to  pay a fine than to modernize the infrastructure, in particular, to  change the same pipes. In this regard, as Grigoryan pointed out, the  ministry is currently reviewing the system. It is planned to  significantly increase the size of the fine for damage to the  environment and the country's water basin.   

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