ArmInfo.Minister of Environment of Armenia Erik Grigoryan does not have enough information to give a final answer to the question whether the Teghout mine is insured against situations similar to what happened today with the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Plant. He stated this in an interview with reporters on October 17 after a government meeting.
At the same time, the Minister admitted that he was acquainted with the conclusions of international experts on the problematic nature of the tailing damps of Teghut CJSC. As Grigoryan pointed out, the information was transferred to the appropriate structures.
To recall, the Teghout Mine ceased operation in January 2018. At first, the company that operated it stated that the reason was the need for ongoing repairs, and two months later, it stated that there was a problem in the tailings pond and the interruption would be long. Later it became known that VTB Bank confiscated at the mine and mining plant because of about $ 400 million in debt outstanding by "Vallex Group".
In July this year the representative of the American consulting company, David Hallman, stated that there is a risk of collapse in the tailing dumps of the Teghout Mine and there is a risk if it is exploited. Activists began demanding to stop the mine development.
Nevertheless, the current management Teghout company, which is subordinate to VTB Bank, restarted the mining and processing plant in mid-July and claims that there are no problems in the tailing dump. On the day of the restart, Lori Region Governor Andrey Ghukasyan and Teghut CEO Karen Ghazaryan stated that they had suspicions that "false rumors" about the danger of the collapse of the tailing dump were being deliberately disseminated.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued the day before, the Vallex Group noted that in October-November 2017, three internationally recognized organizations investigated the tailings damp, and concluded that "urgent measures should be taken to strengthen the tailings damp and ensure safety", otherwise case "operation of the plant will lead to a real threat of collapse of the dam." On August 15, those in charge of Teghout CJSC reported that an agreement was signed with a Bulgarian company to carry out the necessary research on the tailing damp. The company said that work will begin in the first days of September, with the arrival of Bulgarian specialists. The entire process of engineering-geological and hydrogeological examinations and initiation of a study of the sustainability of the tailings dam will be under their direct control, and the results will be ready within 7-8 months. "The September 10 earthquake proved that the government was right about the sustainability of the Teghout tailing damp," Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan wrote on his Facebook page. He recalled that there were many allegations of the imminent destruction of the tailing damp. However, according to the prime minister, if these statements were true, then after the 4-magnitude earthquake recorded in the territory of the mine, the tailing damp would have collapsed. Pashinyan recalled that the management company was required to conduct a detailed analysis of the situation, identify the degree of risk and ensure long-term safety, only after which the mine will be possible to operate.