by Karina Manukyan
In Armenia things are bad in all places having mines and ore mining plants, Mayor of Akhtala Haykaz Khachikyan said in an interview to ArmInfo.
In May 2013 a group of environmentalists and journalists visited Lori region and the local Akhtala ore mining company and noticed that the waste of the company's Shamlugh mine was thrown into the nearby gorges, while the area near the Ayrum tailing dump was used for cattle grazing.
Khachikyan noted that since the change of the manager in 2013, the company has improved its environmental policy even though the waste in the gorge has not yet been removed and nor have they fenced off the area near the Ayrum tailing dump.
Concerning the environmental situation in Akhtala, Khachikyan said that the waters washed out of the local Soviet-time mines are full of heavy metals and pollute the Akhtala and Debet rivers, with the latter used for irrigation purposes in both Armenia and Georgia. "The Government's or the company's efforts are not enough to solve this problem. Here we need international experience," Khachikyan said.
In an earlier interview to ArmInfo Director of the Center for Ecological-Noosphere Studies Armen Saghatelyan said that in Armenia water is polluted in all mining areas.
Studies have shown that the key risk comes from secondary rather than basic elements as the former are often neglected in feasibility reports. In Akhtala the basic elements are lead and zinc, but studies have found there lots of cadmium, which is a very strong contaminant.