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 Friday, May 7 2021 22:49
Alina Hovhannisyan

Expert: With the discovery of a new mine in Lori, you can forget  about the development of tourism, light industry and innovative  agriculture in the region

Expert: With the discovery of a new mine in Lori, you can forget  about the development of tourism, light industry and innovative  agriculture in the region

ArmInfo. For three years, the Lori region has been working hard on the development of tourism, light industry, innovative agriculture. According to Gevorg  Vardanyan, coordinator of the Center for Tourism Research and  Development in Lori region, over the past 2 years, even in conditions  of closed borders, due to domestic tourism, the Lori region has  managed to maintain activity in terms of tourist visits.

Moreover, over the past 2 years, as Vardanyan continued, investments  in the Lori tourism industry amounted to $ 11.5 million. However,  according to him, the RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and  Infrastructures does not consider such a volume of investments to be  a serious investment. "For them, investments related to the operation  of the mine  are more serious," he added. Vardanyan based his  statements on the results of the meetings held by the Ministries of  Territorial Administration and the Environment over the past 2 weeks  with community bodies that are not interested in the development of  tourism in Lori at this point in time.  According to the coordinator  of the Center for Research and Development of Tourism in Lori, the  decision to open another field in Lori was pleasant within the  framework of desk discussions. "From these meetings, I learned that  those who gave permission for the operation do not even know the  location of these villages," he said.

In this context, Vardanyan stressed that in the Lori region the  Vandzor-Tumanyan section was the only one free from exploitation of  mines. At the moment, according to him, there are permits for the  exploitation of 9 fields in Lori. "And if we open them, then we can  already forget about other areas of development in the Lori region,  including tourism, production, agriculture, which would allow  balancing the socio-economic system of the region," the expert said.

However, the current government is not ready for this, the latter,  according to Vardanyan, give priority to the mining industry, in view  of the fact that the economy is in a difficult situation, considering  the exploitation of the deposit as the only way to resume economic  growth.

At the same time, he touched upon the issue of holding public  hearings regarding the operation of the new mine. Basically, they  took place in secret, which became known ex-post. Now, as the expert  continued, measures are being taken to exclude this in the future. At  the same time, Vardanyan expressed concern about the fact that the  most vulnerable families in the region are invited to the hearings,  who are provided with funds for participation.

Summarizing what was said, Vardanyan stressed that the discovery of a  new deposit in the Lori region is definitely a big mistake, which  will aggravate the consequences of the exploitation of a number of  other mines in the region.  To recall, recently it became known that  in the Lori region it is planned to open another polymetallic  deposit, which is intended to be exploited by the company Lusajur  Ventures Invest, owned by unnamed investors from the Czech Republic.  The project covers the interests of 5 communities in Lori region -  Debed, Yeghegnut, Vahagni, Vaagnadzor and Margaovit. Representing the  interests of Czech investors, former head of the country's social  security service Vazgen Khachikyan, who was convicted of embezzlement  of funds on an especially large scale during the previous government,  assured the community residents that this is a closed method of ore  mining that does not have a tailing dump. There will be no enrichment  plant here either. However, residents of one of the communities close  to the deposit opposed the exploitation of the mine, due to the  obvious harm that could be caused to the health of people and the  ecology of the Lori region. They said that the priority of the region  today is the development of tourism, so there can be no talk of the  exploitation of new metallurgical deposits.

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