Fortune Resources a company preparing to operate the Hrazdan iron mine, is facing fierce resistance from local environmental activist.
In a recent statement, the company tried to assuage their fears.
“The company is decisive in going ahead with the mining, but it will only happen when we are convinced that such action will not threaten the environment,” noted Fortune Resources.
We asked several environmental activists what they thought of the company’s reassurances regarding the environment.
Karine Danielyan (Head of the Association for Sustainable Human Development NGO, RA Minister of the Environment 1991-1994) – If the company really believes it can operate the mine without risk, then they should organize public hearings and present their work record. We’ll present our views. Let local residents attend and citizens of Yerevan, because they too will be impacted.
I don’t give much credence to the company’s statement since I don’t think it’s feasible to minimize the associated risks to an acceptable level.
There were hearings in the Public Council. President Vazgen Manukyan sent a letter to the government and the Ministry of the Environment urging a new review of the project and for widespread hearings involving all interested parties.
Hakob Sanasaryan (President of Armenia’s Greens Union) – The company cannot minimize or remove the environmental risks because the problems are many. The Hrazdan River, which irrigates the Ararat plain, flows nearby the mine and there’s a town with 50,000 residents.
Today, the authorities in Armenia only see how more mines can be operated. The government has granted huge tax breaks to mining companies. It’s organized pillaging of the country.
If the company says that it will operate according to environmentally accepted norms, it’s a sign that the company has already backed down from the project since mining in the area cannot be tolerated.
We are dealing with a huge mining mafia that has already calculated the billions of dollars they will make in the coming years. Do you expect that they will listen when we tell them ‘don’t do it’?