With 3000 signatures Jermuk community members petition the central and local government to ban metal mining in their territory and boost ecologically-friendly economy
The overwhelming majority of residents of Jermuk community which includes Jermuk town, Kechut, Gndevaz, Her-Her, Karmrashen villages have exercised their right to direct democracy and have collectively petitioned their economic development vision to the Government of Armenia and the municipal government of Jermuk where they specifically propose and demand to ban metal mining and to boost green economy.
The petition was presented to acting Prime-Minister Nikol Pashinyan on December 2, during his campaign visit to Jermuk. Video by Azatutyun https://web.facebook.com/armecofront/videos/292095964764753/
The petition was handed over to Jermuk Municipal Mouncil on December 5, where the Council members vowed to discuss it at the upcoming council meeting. Video by Armecofront https://web.facebook.com/armecofront/videos/1959463754355593/, https://www.facebook.com/armecofront/videos/121641985444657/
The petition was handed over to the Government on December 6. Video by Armecofront https://web.facebook.com/armecofront/videos/500313047156872/
The petition says.
“Honorary Prime Minister, members of the Government, head of Jermuk community and members of Jermuk municipal council,
Being the smallest of Armenia’s marzes by population and area, Vayots Dzor is a unique territory where stepe, forest and alpine ecosystems can be found. Some of these ecosystems are protected as protected areas. This region is the source feeding and restoring Armenia’s major water wealth – Lake Sevan. It has a strategic hydrological significance for Armenia’s entire territory as a watershed and an area where important hydrological infrastructure is constructed, such as Vorotan-Arpa-Sevan water tunnel, Ketchut and Herher reservoirs etc.
Our region’s economy is grounded on soil and nature, involving agriculture, animal breeding, food processing, grape horticulture, wine-making, mineral and still water bottling, (eco)tourism, ecologically clean wild herb collection, sanatoria etc. There are remnants of mechanized enterprises from the Soviet era which can serve as a ground for further developing them through innovations.
At the same time, our Marz boasts with sich economic brands that represent all of Armenia, those being Jermuk mineral water, Jermuk health spa town, Areni as a center for wine-making, grape cultivation and archeological tourism, Gndevaz late-ripening apricots.
The economic pillars of our Jermuk community are sanatoria, mineral bottling, tourism and agriculture. These pillars are in threatened if metal mining is embarked on.
In no way can metal mining develop the economy of our community; even if it brings certain tax incomes in the short term, in that same short term it will destroy the nature-based economic system and will generate immense costs related to its social and economic devastating impact. In reality, the cost-benefit ratio of metal mining is not calculated and we are deprived of analyses on its real impacts, however we see with bare eyes the dire consequences of mining in other regions of Armenia. We do not wish to become Teghut, Akhtala, Alaverdi of Lori Marz, emptied Dastakert of Syunik Marz, Qajaran or Kapan with the highest in Armenia morbidity rates.
Having given permits to gold mining in Amulsar, the previous governments have violated our right to participate in decision-making affecting us. Before 2016, the largest town of our community, Jermuk was not considered an impacted community. After recognition that it will bear impact, formal community hearings have not been organized here. Lydian and former authorities have ignored us, tried to mislead and intimidate us. We now demand that the new government respect the will of the people and with that hope are presenting this collective petition.
We propose and demand:
From Jermuk municipal council, to adopt a decision by which the prospects of metal mining mining in our community will be ruled out and our community will be declared a green, eco-friendly economic area where the following industries shall develop: thermal spa and resort sanatoria, ecologically clean and natural agriculture, food processing, sustainable tourism, mineral water bottling and other innovative industries not harming the nature.
From the Government,
- To adopt a Government Decree by which the prospect of metal mining in Jermuk will be ruled out and our community will be declared a green, eco-friendly area where the following industries shall develop: thermal spa and resort sanatoria, ecologically clean and natural agriculture, food processing, sustainable tourism, mineral water bottling and other innovative industries not harming the nature. This decree will complement the previously adopted government strategies related to economic development of Vayots Dzor marz and will rule out the perspective of metal mining in the Marz.
- To terminate operation of all potential metal mines in order to enforce this decree, including termination of geological prospecting and explorations, revision of the licenses and positive conclusions already provided, specifically those related to Amulsar mining project.
- To engage community members in developing a comprehensive green and eco-friendly economic development program for Jermuk and Vayots Dzor marz. We are ready to assist central and local government bodies in implementing this program. “
For questions, please contact:
Armenin Environmental Front Civil Initiative