Thursday, October 17 2019 14:30
Naira Badalian

Situation at some abandoned mines is catastrophic: Armenian Minister  of Environment seeks financial resources for their restoration

Situation at some abandoned mines is catastrophic: Armenian Minister  of Environment seeks financial resources for their restoration

ArmInfo.  There are 49 abandoned mines and t tailing dumps in Armenia. Minister of the Environment Erik Grigoryan reported this to journalists on October 17 after a  government meeting.

According to Grigoryan, the ministry, where restoration will be  carried out as a priority, allocated 10 of them. Today, the  Environment Ministry is seeking financing for the corresponding  design estimates.

Meanwhile, as the Minister pointed out, a catastrophic situation has  already developed in some places.  "People are conducting economic  activities on the territory of the abandoned tailing dump. Meanwhile,  being there is already dangerous for humans," he said.

The Ministry of the Environment was thinking about developing a new  procedure for the restoration of mines and tailing dumps. Until  today, as Grigoryan pointed out, the process was only that the mine  was covered with earth. Now the ministry plans to begin the process  of biological reclamation in order to make these lands suitable for  future use. WB experts, as the Minister said, will provide the  guidebook.

It should be noted that in the National Report of the Ministry of  Nature Protection "On the state of the environment for 2002", tailing  dumps also had hazard rate. Three hazardous tailing dumps had the 1st  hazard rate: Three hazardous tailing dumps had the 1st hazard rate:  Ararat Cyanide, owned by Geopromining Gold; Geghanush tailing dump,  containing copper, lead, zinc and gold, owned by Dundee Precious  Metals Kapan; and the Nahatak tailing dump, owned by the Akhtala Ore  Processing Plant.

According to the new RA Code "On Subsoil", since 2011, tailings have  ceased to be considered hazardous waste, and are considered as  secondary deposits of technogenic origin. Therefore, they are not  taxed. After the adoption of amendments to the Code "On Subsoil" in  2016, the concept of a tailing dump turned into a category of waste.  That is, if earlier part of the waste from mining activities after  making an economic assessment could be considered as technogenic  deposits, then the new code of tailing dumps and other production  dumps are considered solely as objects of subsoil use waste, and the  substances contained in them - whether it be concentrates or tailings  etc. - waste.Meanwhile, in the scientific work published in 2014, "Priority Tasks  Associated with RA Tailing Drumps" (authors R. S. Movsesyan, A. I.  Movsisyan, Department of Prospecting and Exploration of Mineral  Deposits of Yerevan State University), it was noted that due to  mining activities territories in an area of over 8 thousand hectares  have been violated in Armenia. Another 1,500 hectares of land under  the tailing dumps have been withdrawn from circulation, about 1  billion tons of mining enterprises waste has been accumulated there.  And the most dangerous, according to the authors of the report, are  precisely the accumulations of tailing dumps, then dumps of  off-balance ores and smelter slag. 

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