Larisa Paremuzyan

93% of Workers Examined at Alaverdi Copper Smelter Diagnosed with Various Illnesses

246 of the 265 workers at the Alaverdi Copper Smelter taking part in an October 2012 medical study were diagnosed as having an elevated range of cardio-vascular and respiratory illnesses.

The workers were selected out of the total 600 personnel at the smelter who are exposed to potentially dangerous materials and exhausts at the production site.

The smelter is operated by the Armenian Copper Programme, a company owned by the Vallex Group

Even though the environment at the smelter is carcinogenic, there were no oncologists included in the panel review board and no testing for cancer took place.

A number of health safety proposals were made to ACP including better sanitation standards, a healthier cafeteria diet, an electrocardiogram machine at the smelter’s heath center, improved safety dress, etc.

Five months after the medical study, Hetq contacted Vallex Group to find out to what extent the health and safety proposals had been implemented.

According to the information sent by Vallex Group, the picture is a mixed bag. A few dozen workers were sent to various health resorts in Armenia and Georgia, improvements were made to the smelter’s shower and locker room facilities and new safety gear was provided.