Armenian Environmentalists Preparing to Physically Prevent Cutting Down of 50,000 Trees
Armenia-based Ecolur NGO, Ecological NGOs Alliance and Ecodar NGO will be sending a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) requesting they stop gold multi-metal open-pit mining in the Armenian city of Kapan, which will result in 50,000 trees being cut down. According to the environmentalists, mine exploitation will have devastating effects for the region and for the health and welfare of nearby residents.
Note that Armenia-based mining company Deno Gold Mining CJSC, a subsidiary of Canadian-based international mining company Dundee Precious Metals Inc., submitted a project to the RA Government in which it proposes to increase its mining and processing facilities at its operating mine in Kapan. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will be providing the funds for the exploitation of open-pit mining for gold.
This news was conveyed to the media today at a press conference in Yerevan by the directors of the aforementioned NGOs, who added that the scheme is currently at the discussion and research phase.
Ecolur Informational NGO President Inga Zarafyan said that since experience has shown that all issues are resolved prior to the Armenian government’s approval of such projects (whereby the government’s approval is simply a formality), they have decided to speak out and prevent the activities of the mining company.
“We ask our government, are they only thinking about exploiting mines — isn’t it true that they also have to think about the health and welfare of its people?” asked Ecological NGOs Alliance coordinator Silva Adamyan.
Ecodar NGO President Hrair Savzyan added, they are concerned that the case of Teghut forest will set a bad precedence for the destruction and cutting down of other forested areas in Armenia.
“The figure quoted by Kapan’s mayor, that 7,000 trees will be cut down, is not true… our colleagues state that this project will result in 50,000 trees being cut down,” said Savzyan.
The Ecodar president also said that once their efforts are shown to be in vain and mine exploitation and the destruction of trees begins, it’s very likely that numerous activists and environmentalists from Yerevan and Kapan will demonstrate there.
“It’s possible that we’ll camp out with tents and simply physically prohibit the cutting down of those trees,” he said.
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