ArmInfo. Armenia should conduct proactive policy in regulating mining industry; the experts of the World Bank came to this conclusion. They have prepared their recommendations for the process of reforming the field, in which special focus is attached to the issue of management of so-called historic tailing dumps, which have serious ecological and social influence.
WB expert on environmental issues Simon Pow made a presentation today in the American University of Armenia, in which he noted that the problem of tailing dumps management in Armenia is vital and in fact is far from the accepted international practice, which leads to high level of influence by mine waste on ecological and health situation in the regions. According to the expert running legislation of Armenia does not regulate this problem while the payments of the mining companies are so miserable that they can no way contribute to the settlement of this problem. There is a lack of state funds for processing and recovering tailing dumps while the enterprises prefer to make small payments rather than to introduce expensive technologies and involve themselves in solving the issue.
Meanwhile, during the presentation the author and the specialists went into discussion the specialists accused the expert in poor knowledge of the situation. They noted that there are no so-called historic tailing dumps in Armenia and all the dumps are manmade and can be used as source for further processing. The specialists think that the proposals made by the WB experts cannot lead to any change in cleansing and these talks are purposeless. All the large tailing dumps according to the Armenian specialists have been created for decades, as there were no technologies for deep processing of ore in the Soviet period. Now such technologies exist and investors are needed to organize the recovery of man made tailing dumps for their own and the country's benefit.
Meanwhile, Head of "For Sustainable Development Association" Karine Danielyan stated earlier in an interview to ArmInfo that the tailing dumps in Armenia do not correspond to any international standards. The expert noted that the tailing dumps are not duly isolated from the environment particularly from ground waters. "Consequently, there is risk of poisoning with heavy metals, degradation of ecosystems and biodiversity. Besides, the populations' health is in serious danger. It is not coincident that sterility and cancer diseases are spread among the population of the communities adjacent to the mining deposits", Danielyan stated. The ecologist pointed at the fact that surface mining is practiced in Armenia, which creates additional environmental risks. "Surface mining is cheaper and this means that it is much more beneficial for the mining companies. As a result financial interest of the international corporations and groups of people from Armenia prevails over the nationwide interest", she emphasized.
According to the ministry of emergency situations of Armenia there are 19 tailing dumps in Armenia with a total area of 1400ha.