The Republic of Armenia Ministry of Environment gave a license to the Armenian Copper Program CJSC (ACP) mining company to study and then to exploit the Teghut copper molybdenum mine in the Tumanyan district of the Lori marz (region). Land allocation is as follows: 1,970 hectares have been provided to the company, of which 1,589.6 are forested and 380.4 are community lands.
Hayk Aloumyan, an attorney involved in public interest affairs and who has defended civic organizations in Armenia, told reporters today that the government has no conception as to how the public can go about defending its rights.
Heritage Party MP Zarouhie Postanjyan stated that mining at Teghout must be stopped at all costs given that Armenia cannot afford to have yet another dangerous tailing dam on its soil.
The Teghout operation will produce about 28,000 tons of copper ore a year. This will be in addition to the 23,000 already produced in Armenia.
On November 3, the Vallex Group officially announced the beginning of its construction of a copper and molybdenum mine in the village of Teghut. Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan was present at the ceremony, and nothing was spared to make it an impressive event.
On June 16, 2006 the management of the enterprise Armenian Copper announced that it had created a new company, Teghut, which would exploit the copper-molybdenum mine located in the Teghut forest in the Lori Marz. The new company already employs 130 people, mainly geologists and scientists.
Very few of Armenia's once abundant forests are left today. Over the last 13 years, forests have fallen victim first to the blockade and the resulting energy crisis, and then to human greed and carelessness. A number of companies have been cutting down trees for lumber, despite the fact that deforestation for industrial purposes is prohibited.
A difficult test awaits ecological organizations and the society at large in Armenia. Months ago, they somehow managed to save the Shikahogh Preserve, which the government, more specifically the Ministry of Transport and Communication, was preparing to sacrifice for an admittedly necessary highway. Now a similar threat of annihilation hangs over the Teghut forest in the Lori Marz.