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Mery Sargsyan

Kristine Aghalaryan

Former Pashinyan Adviser Sets Sights on Syunik Gold Mine Near National Park

AT-Metals LLC, a company partially founded by the family of Hamlet Hovsepyan, a former adviser to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, intends to carry out geological prospecting at the Taghamir gold mining sites in Syunik.   

The company has filed an application to the Ministry of Environment for an environmental impact assessment of geological surveys.

Accordingly, the area of ​​Taghamir gold mine includes two sites belonging to the village of Litchk of Meghri. The area covers 290 hectares - 124 hectares at the first site and 166 hectares in the second.

The mine is located 2.5 km east of Litchk village, and 7 km from Aygedzor village, in the catchment area of ​​the upper stream of Meghri river.

The application states that part of the area requested for geological study intersects with the areas of the Arik National Park. The company did not specify how much of the park would be impacted.

"Considering the fact that the requested area borders on the territory of" Arik "National Park, no physical work is planned in that part. "Only route crossings will be carried out here," the project says.

The company says, in its project outline, that it will take “special measures” to protect the park’s biodiversity.

* No earthworks will be carried out in the territory of the national park,

* No vehicles, drilling or other technical means will enter the territory of the national park.

* No drilling, digging or construction works will be carried out,

* Only exploratory, electromagnetic surveys will be carried out in the territory of the national park.

Of note is the fact that another company, Nig Mining LLC, applied for a prospecting permit for the same area in 2018-2021. Reading the EIA projects, it becomes clear that the same formulations and maps were used to survey the 290-hectar area. In the previous plan, however, it was mentioned that 79 hectares of the requested area is in Arik National Park. This time the company avoided specifying the exact size of the overlapping area.

In May 2018, Meghri residents boycotted public discussions on the proposed exploration work by "Nig Mining" LLC in the area.

A second round of public hearings on the application for the preliminary environmental impact assessment of the geological studies to be carried out in the Taghamir gold mining area submitted by AT-Metals LLC will take place on December 16 at 14:00 at the Meghri Municipality.




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