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Larisa Paremuzyan

What Reforestation? Teghout and Shnogh Mayors Accuse Mining Company of Poor Oversight

Teghout CJSC, a member of the Vallex Group, doesn’t appear to be holding up its side of the bargain struck with the Armenian government back in 2008 regarding reforestation in the Teghout and Shnogh forests where the company has launched a copper-molybdenum mining operation.

Teghout Mayor Frunzeh Norekyan told Hetq that many of the saplings planted by the mining company have withered and died due to a lack of proper oversight.

Norekyan says that 50 hectares have been reforested in Teghout with little success.

Vallex Group press spokesperson Vahram Avagyan claims that 67 hectares have been replanted in the Shnogh and Teghout communities and the saplings have taken root.

On April 30, Sergei Shakhkyan, a forest warden of the Shamlough branch of HayAntar SNCO participated at a meeting between Teghout CJSC management and local residents to ascertain the success rate of the tree planting project.

The forest warden demanded that Teghout CJSC provide specific evidence to back up its claim that the reforestation was a success.

Shakhkyan later told Hetq that only 10% the company’s planted saplings have taken hold, while a minimum of 60-70% is needed for reforestation.

Also complaining about Teghout CJSC’s unsuccessful reforestation was Shnogh Mayor Hovik Sahakyan, who pointed out that adequate oversight was lacking from the ministries of the environment and agriculture.

According to the permits issued by the government, the company was given the right to clear 205.5 hectares of forest and obliged to reforest 411 hectares by January 1, 2014.