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Residents of the village of Meghradzor organized a picket in front of the president's residence in Yerevan on Jan 25. The villagers are protesting against construction of a cyanic plant in Meghradzor. Meghradzor LLC backs the construction.
A villager Samvel Mkrtchyan says cyanic plant is dangerous for the environment and they plan to build it in the resort zone Tsakhkadzor-Meghradzor-Hankavan. He says that the public opinion is not taken into consideration when drafting the project.
"They provide us with false data saying that allegedly the plant's operation will not affect environment. However, cyanides leaked in Meghradzor will occur directly in the River of Marmarik endangering the nearby settlements and the Ararat region," Mkrtchyan says. His fellow villager Karen Hovannisyan says that over 500 people protest against construction of the plant.
The signatures of the picketers were submitted to the president's staff and a statement saying that the project does not reckon with the fact that the area is earthquake-prone. The project lacks data on the radioactive elements and a map of the uranium and thorium. In addition, it does not reckon with possible pollution of soil, water and air in case of emergencies. The project assesses the damage on a formula, which lacks a coefficient of a resort area when the damage assessment increases several dozens of times.
For his part, Director of Meghradzor Gold LLC Vardan Markaryan called the given accusations groundless. Talking to ArmInfo he said that the production capacity of the plant will total 600 tons monthly.
"The project bears no environmental risks due to closed cycle production," he said. "A group of young people is behind the scandal. They had been stealing gold-bearing ore for 4-5 years when the mine was frozen. Most of the signatures gathered against construction of the plant are forged. However, I am ready to build the plant in another area, where the Government will point at," the director of the company said.
Markaryan said that the gold mine was officially developed yet in the Soviet Armenia, since 1986. The reserves are estimated at 300.000 tons with some 3500 tons of gold content. Earlier, it was on the balance of GeoProMining Company, but was later frozen as unpromising. In Nov 2010 Meghradzor Gold undertook development of the mine. A total of 200 jobs have been created at the plant, he said, with 116 residents of Meghradzor working on the mine. He said that the company pays 30 million drams to the Meghradoz budget annually. In addition, since 2010 the company has paid 500 million drams to the state budget.