Grandma Araksya is a sprightly woman of 80 who lives alone in the village of Kajaran.
She soon might be evicted from her home due to mining interest in the area.
On April 28, the Armenian government declared sites in the Syunik villages of Kajaran, Artzvanik, Sevakar, Atchanan and Chapni is being in the "public interest", that's to say eminent domain. They have been leased to the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine.
Araksya Grigoryan's house is in the village center and exploratory mining operations have begun just a few hundred meters away. If valuable ore is found, then Araksya and the entire village population will be forced to leave their ancestral homes.
No one knows where they will go.
The Combine already operates a mine on the other side of the River Voghji and now they want to expand to the other side. The government has given them permission to do so.
Residents of Kajaran are in a state of shock.
Kajaran Village Mayor Rafik Atayan says the company has no need to expand.
"They have enough reserves to last 400-500 years. Why do they want to push us out of our homes. They should leave us alone.
The mayor says the mine's center is located right above the cemetery and that a tractor was recently sent to dig. Hre went out and confronted the work crew, forcing them to retreat.
Grandma Araksya's husband and son are buried in that cemetery.
"We aren't giving up any land. Where would we go," says the mayor of this village of 230 whose communal lands stretch all the way to the border with Nakhijevan.
Mayor Atayan charges the company with reneging on its promises to improve conditions in the area. The village is without gas and the roads are practically impassable.
Since there is no school in the village, children are transported to town in a bus allocated by the company. But that's the extent of the assistance provided by the mining company.
It's interesting to note that Vahe Hakobyan, son of the Zangezur Combine's Executive Director Maksim Hakobyan, was elected as the MP for the district. Residents told me he only shows up before elections to make campaign pledges.
While company officials say that nothing will happen to the cemetery and the houses in Kajaran, resident Gagik Hakobyan believes otherwise.
"I was born here and am not about to leave," Gagik said, evidently incensed. "I won't let them harm a hair on anyone's head here. They have enough reserves already. I won't be bought out either. How can they play havoc with the cemetery, a sacred site? All my relatives are buried there. Can those bones be collected by hand, one by one, and transported elsewhere? Of course not."
In a trembling voice Mayor Atayan said that the government was telling the villagers to clear out.
"If the mine starts to operate what will happen to us and to this village that is located 4 kilometers from the border. It's as if the government has no need of us common folk. They will be committing a genocide right here."
The mayor says he has sent of letters to the president, speaker of the parliament and prime minister, but has received no replies.
Many residents say that the mining company is trying to pressure employees from the village not to protest against the new mine site.
Vahan Atayan, who has been working at the Combine for 25 years, says that he hasn't been approached in such a manner but that he's heard rumors.
Mr. Atayan told me that he would accept compensation to relocate if the company allocated a piece of land equal to what he now has. He also wouldn't oppose moving the cemetery, even though his father, brother and grandparents are buried there.
He gets paid a monthly salary of 130,000 AMD for a 40 hour work week and confesses that conditions were better in the past. His wife also works at the Zangezur Combine. Vahan says the family is burdened with debt.
Pondering his situation, he uttered, "You know, one day we will wake up to hear that all of Armenia has been sold off. They'll come to tell us that our lands have been taken away and that we must leave."
Meruzhan, another irate Kajaran native, had this to say.
"Nakhijevan is right over there. Do they want an Armenia with no Armenians? This is our land. I don't care how much money they offer. Who wants to live in some empty building in Yerevan's Northern Avenue? Should all Armenians in the country pack up and move to Yerevan? My brother lives in Moscow. Should I join him? The constitution says the government belongs to the people. We sent petitions to the government but nobody listens. What a joke."
The Syunik Regional Administration also seems to be caught in a bind.
Deputy Regional Governor Vachik Grigoryan said that after the village mayor sent letters to the government an expert panel should have conducted studies to evaluate the potential risks to the community from enlarged mining operations.
"The issue is of major concern to us. Residents are worried about the loss of the cemetery but the matter must be studied before we express an opinion," said Grigoryan.
I tried to get the company's side of the story, but to no avail.
When I called the Yerevan office of the Zangezur Combine, an employee replied that she didn't have the number for Executive Director Maksim Hakobyan.
She suggested that I telephone Kajaran directly since "that is where Hakobyan spends most of his time."
When I called, no one picked up.