Dozens of residents of a village in Lori province in western Armenia blocked a local road Wednesday to protest against the project of an obscure private company that is considering looking for gold near Of their community.
They fear that the mine project, if implemented, will wreak havoc on the local ecosystem by contaminating the forests and pastures surrounding the village of Ardvi. They claim that the open-cast mines will also frighten tourists who visit the 10th century shrines located in Ardvi.
The company in question, called Miram, has so far disclosed only a few details of its plans to develop a gold mine in the region. It has not yet obtained government approval for the proposed operation.
The Armenian law requires that companies wishing to obtain mining licenses organize public hearings in the communities affected by their operations. Miram planned to hold such a discussion on Wednesday.
The villagers disrupted the procedure by blocking a road leading to Ardvi. “Our gold is our nature,” said one of the angry protesters.
“Their goal is to destroy our village. We will not accept any hearing, “shouted another villager.
The representatives of Miram never showed up. Until now, Arayik Zadoyan – director of a restaurant in the provincial capital Vanadzor – was among the shareholders of the company. The restaurant in question belongs to Vahram Baghdasarian, the parliamentary leader of the Republican Party.
Zadoyan said on Wednesday that he no longer owns shares in Miram. He added that the company is controlled by one of his friends from Russia.
Claire © armenews.com