94 residents of Artvi, a village of some 230 souls in Armenia’s Lori Province, have signed and sent a petition to the country’s prime minister and environmental and energy ministers, demanding that they deny a mining license to Miram LLC, a company that wants to operate a gold and multi-metal mine in the area.
On July 26, Artvi residents blocked the road leading to the village in an attempt to turn back a delegation from Miram LLC from attending a public hearing on the mine project.
Residents argues that the planned mine is located two kilometers from their village and that it poses risks to their drinking water sources and animal pastures.
In their letter, they write: “As a result of mining operations, our water, soil, air and pastures will be polluted with heavy metals and toxins. There are centuries-old oak and beech trees in the Artvi forests. Mining operations will impact the forests. We will be deprived of clean water and the forest.”
Residents note that Artvi was selected as one of the twenty communities in Armenia to participate in a UN project designed to develop rural tourism, and that the mine would seriously undermine such an effort.