by Karina Manukyan
Despite protests of environmentalists, Mego Gold Company gets a permission to launch the third Tukhmanuk tailing dump.
Environmentalist Greta Gabrielyan told reporters, Tuesday, the Nature Protection Ministry of Armenia approved the Tukhmanuk tailing dump project's Environment Impact Assessment on 30 June. Meanwhile, in the following 1.5 month, environmentalists could not get official information on whether the project would be approved or not. In fact, they learned about the project's approval on 23 August from the website of Global Gold Mining.
"We deal with a unique situation when the project is approved amid heated protests of the residents of the Melik community, where the tailing dump will be built," says lawyer Arthur Grigoryan. According to him, the villagers have already sent a letter to the minister and asked him to visit Melik community to get first- hand view of the situation. The villages alarm that the two old tailing dumps were not recultivated, which may cause risks of soil pollution.
The project caused displeasure both of ecologists and local residents. In particular, "Mega gold" company did not implement recultivation work at the two tailing dumps of Tukhmanuk, which contains the risk of heavy metals penetration in soil.
Last year ecologists called on Armenian Prosecutor General's Office to revise the license on open pit mining of Tukhmanuk. Mego Gold Company (subsidiary of GGM) was to submit a new project after two years of open pit mining and start close pit mining. However, environmentalists say the company managed to somehow extend the license for open pit mining.