Don’t understand the Teghut campaigners, but willing to listen…

from here.

Frankly, I don’t quite understand what all the Teghut cause is about. I have a bunch of friends engaged in a movement to stop the Armenian Copper Program (ACP) from establishing an open pit strip mining operation for copper and molybdenum ore in Teghut’s forest. They say the plan includes clear-cutting over 1,500 acres of Teghut’s forest.  Clearly that’s bad. But – in this economy you’d think it’s justified to cut some forest to help the exports and the economy, and provide jobs to the people.

The Teghut campaigners, however, say “ACP plans to create a “tailing dump” in a nearby pristine gorge, where heavy metals and other toxins from mining waste will leach into the ground and into the river flowing through the gorge, ultimately contaminating the local water supply. Furthermore, they make a valid point:

What do we know about Armenian Copper Program’s track record? ACP owns the infamous Alaverdi Smelter, which processes copper ore for a consortium of mining companies in the region. No birth anomalies were recorded in Alaverdi in 1992 when the factory was idle, but in 2001, 28 cases of birth defects were registered and 107 cases in 2004. How will birth defects benefit Armenia’s next generation, Armenia’s future?

I really don’t know – but this slideshow and the music in it are beautiful, and I’m willing to at least listen to the people who are putting so much effort and creativity into their campaign. Don’t think ACP could come up with something like this – do you?

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4 thoughts on “Don’t understand the Teghut campaigners, but willing to listen…

  1. Oh waw :) Here I go with some environmental points of view :)Do you really think that in THIS economy it is justified to cut some forest to help exports? :) Or do you seriously think that these are the kind of jobs that we need? :) And yes I do know the argument that any kind of a job is a job :)

    In fact the issue with Teghut is a bit complicated that than and there are a number of points that we, as Save Teghut movement are making. Firstly, right from the start the project was approved without a proper Environmental Impact Assessment. The project is breaching a number of RA Laws and right now we’re trying to get this issue settled through courts.

    Just a reminder, that Teghut project poses a threat to a number of species in that region. Bye bye species from the Red Book! If the project goes forward these species will be gone, forever. A number of historical monuments will be destroyed as well.

    Another issue is – our government has announced mining as a priority and we’re facing a mining boom. At the same time we already a number of copper mining projects going on, is it really reasonable to open up a new one? How reasonable is this? If this tendency doesn’t stop we will end up living in a contaminated environment, with numerous health issues. Alaverdi is a very vivid example of this.

    There are many more points, I don’t want to get carried away with this. Bottom line – every and single one of our actions have consequences. Experience shows – messing with nature never brings good results.

    • I’d just like to point out – that one of the species endangered in the region is the Human one. I’m told those people have no jobs, and no means to survive. While campaigning – what is it that you’re offering them in return?

      • You can’t destroy your country in order to have a short term impact on unemployment. These jobs come and go, the environment that the future generations have to live in stays. Here are the issues I think are at play:

        – Teghut mining will provide low paying jobs to a few dozen people, some from the immediate vicinity;
        – Most of the profits will flow to the owners of the venture and will be taken out of the country to a safer business environment;
        – The true profits will not be taxed but the bribery for doing that will stay in the country;
        – The country will retain a status of resource exporting, rather than resource processing, economy;
        – The environment will be destroyed as a result of open mining;
        – It is the future generations that will pay for today’s few low paying jobs.

  2. The reason that the people have no means to survive is exactly due to the fact that the government is pushing its policy of only one means of development for the region – mining. Whereas I’m sure (and some experts have pointed out this as well) that other ways of economic development can be pursued for the region.

    Another issue is what happens next. Lets say the forest is cut down, plant becomes operational and jobs are created for a short-term. Does it really pay off to have this job now and but in return have no health, no money for treatment (these jobs are not forever you know) as well as potentially fear for an unhealthy life for your children? Maybe in the short term mining seems to be a solution, in the long term it creates more problems than opportunities.

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