by Karina Manukyan
On March 25 the green activists will hold an alternative conference on mining. The event will be the response to the March 25-26 international conference titled "Responsible Mining in Armenia: Opportunities and Challenges".
At the March 24 conference green activist Lena Nazaryan said that the title of the international conference demonstrates that its participants and organizers are going to voice the current problems in the mining sector. Meanwhile, the environmentalists have repeatedly tried to draw attention to the fact that the mining industry in Armenia inflicts serious damage to the environment and has a negative impact on the health of the residents of the communities adjacent to the mines.
In this light, the green activists have decided to hold an alternative event in order to point at the imperfection of the current legislation, negative impact of mine development on human health, as well as the negative effect of mine exploitation near the resort zones.
The event will be titled "Irresponsible Mining in Armenia" and will be held outside near the venue of the international conference. Thus, the green activists hope to get their message across to the international organizations supporting the mining industry. Nazaryan hopes that the police will not disturb the alternative conference of the green activists.
The March 25-26 international conference titled "Responsible Mining in Armenia: Opportunities and Challenges" will in Yerevan is organized by the World Bank and the Armenian Government, with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), International Finance Corporation (IFC), Embassy of the United States, German Embassy in Yerevan, British Embassy and Canadian Government.
To recall, experts have repeatedly pointed out the negative impact of the mining industry development in Armenia. Earlier Armen Saghatelyan, Head of the Center for Ecological-Noosphere Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, told ArmInfo that heavy metals penetrate into food chains in all regions of Armenia, where there is mining industry.
Head of the Green Union of Armenia Hakob Sanasaryan, in turn, pointed out that the tails (waste of the mining industry) are very often thrown to the forestry. The height of the waste in the forests of Kajaran and Agarak, for instance, is several meters.
The biggest blow on protection of the environment was the new "Code on Natural Resources" adopted in autumn 2011. The Code gives the companies an opportunity to considerably reduce the tax base. In addition, it is the state, not the companies, that will be responsible for the tails after development of the deposits.