Wednesday, March 11 2020 18:15
Karina Manukyan

Pashinyan: Amulsar field will not be developed if there are  uncontrolled environmental risks

Pashinyan: Amulsar field will not be developed if there are  uncontrolled environmental risks

ArmInfo. On March 11, as part of the "YES" campaign for the constitutional referendum scheduled for April 5, RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with Jermuk residents who had blocked the road to the Amulsar field.

Local residents presented to the prime minister their concerns  regarding the exploitation of the field. In particular, they noted  public health risks due to the proximity of the mine to Jermuk.  Environmental risks are also a concern, especially given the fact  that Jermuk is considered a resort area. As noted, during the  operation of the mine, the city will become unattractive to tourists,  which carries serious economic risks.  Activists assured the prime  minister that they will defend their position to the last, and will  not unblock the road, even if the government decides to give the  green light to this project. In particular, they expressed their  concerns about information on the presence of uranium in Amulsar.

Meanwhile, Pashinyan emphasized that he no less than local residents  wants to have complete information about the possible risks of  operating the field. He also assured that he was ready to delve into  the study of this issue as much as possible. According to him, if the  project carries uncontrollable environmental risks, then it will not  be implemented. The operation of the mine, as was noted, is possible  only under conditions of controlled environmental factors.

To recall, earlier this week, Minister of Nature Protection of the  Republic of Armenia Erik Grigoryan stated that the results of the  1952-1954 expedition were not taken into account when developing the  Amulsar field. According to him, in the framework of the criminal  case, the investigation will reveal whether this fact is an attempt  to conceal the results of those studies, or is this an omission on  the part of the state body.  As the Minister noted, significant  deviations were made in the implementation of the program. And if the  company has the opportunity to change them, it must do so.

Earlier, the minister noted that if the company "Lydian Armenia",  developing the deposit, concealed or falsified data on uranium  reserves at "Amulsar", then this will lead to serious consequences  for it. On September 5 of last year, the department addressed a  letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol  Pashinyan, which noted the results of the Gromov expedition conducted  in 1952-1954. The package, which concerns the presence of uranium,  was sent to the Investigative Committee, and if it turns out that the  research procedures by Lydian were violated, the company will face  serious problems.

It should be noted that despite the assurances of the Lydian company  that about $ 400 million has already been invested in the development  project of the Amulsar gold deposit, local ecologists do not share  the government's enthusiasm about the attractiveness of the mine's  operation plan. Environmentalists fear that the exploitation of the  field, during which sodium cyanide will be used, may lead to the  oxidation of water in rivers. Contaminated waters will become  unsuitable for drinking and irrigation and may cause irreparable harm  to the mineral springs of Jermuk and the ecosystem of Sevan. In  addition to the water basin, the public is also concerned about the  possible presence of uranium reserves in the deposit.

In his work "Uranium-bearing geological formations in Armenia>, the  famous scientist, Doctor of Geological Sciences Petros Gevorkovich  Aloyan, referring to the data of the Gromov expedition, noted that  the Amulsar occurrence of uranium is located 4 km southeast of the  village of Ketchut and 5 km to northwest of the top of the mountain  of the same name. Approximately 76 tons of uranium were calculated  for five sections of the Amulsar, and taking into account uranium in  the thorium section, its total reserves can be estimated at 100 tons.   Moreover, according to the research of another scientist, Professor  G.S.  Avagyan, according to 40 samples of Amulsar ore, there are 195  tons of uranium and thorium there.  Meanwhile, the development of  uranium deposits requires a special government permit, which Lydian  does not have. According to the company, the deposit contains about  73733 kg of gold with an average grade of 0.78 g per ton, as well as  294.367 tons of silver with an average grade of 9.29 g per ton. At  the same time, there is not a word about uranium.

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