2008-09-01 13:44:00

ArmInfo. GeoProMining company has assured Armenian ecologists that
construction of a new enrichment plant near the Sotk gold deposit is
"economically necessary".

Director of GeoProMinisg Dmitriy Kalandadze said the company is ready
to transfer a part of production process to the Sevan bassin region. He
may probably forgot that such kind of activity is forbidden by the
law "On Sevan". Construction of such a plant may seriously damage
the lake and only financial benefit is his only goal. Kalandadze said
that at present the company loses $500 thsd monthly and added when GPM
bought the deposit in Armenia it had a plan to build a new plant. 'Our
company has no future without it', - Kalandadze said. He also said
he cannot build a plant in Ararat as it will be difficult to ship
gold-bearing ore since traffic capacity of the railway does not give
them an opportunity of getting 1000 tonnes of ore daily. 'It turns
out that except $300 mln for construction of a new tailings storage
facility and a new plant in Ararat the GPM should invest $140 mln for
repairing of this sector of the railway. Thus, it is not profitable
for us to invest construction of the plant in Ararat and Gagarino>,
- Kalandadze said.

He also added that GPM bought deposits in Armenia not "to deal with
humanitarian activity, only protecting nature and paying salary>. 'The
company should earn money!', - he said. Kalandadze nevertheless
assured ecologists that the plant in Sotk will not be built without
their permission. He also said that the company is ready to invest
tens of millions dollars in nature protection actions and to build
a new tailings storage facility in Ararat in which the world known
company Fraser Alexander will take part.

, Inga Zarafyan, President of public organization told ArmInfo
commenting on the meeting results. great threat to Lake Sevan One
should not forget that it is catch basin for the whole Caucasus. In
addition, rivers and underground sources are formed there. We have
no right to risk', she said.

Karine Danielyan, Chairwoman of the Association 'For Sustainable
Development', shares her opinion. 'We are against the attempts to
revise the Law on Sevan. Such idea was already made in the parliament
when they discussed the possible increase in water release from
Sevan. I am afraid these will be two changes: permission to ore
processing in Sevan basin and revision of the minimum level necessary
for the lake to restore its ecological balance (the law stipulated
for 1903.5 m above sea level)', she said. K. Danielyan underlined that
'economic' arguments of D. Kalanadze may be fair, however, environment
aspects may be in the focus of attention. 'A compromise should be
found. We cannot cede the lake for economic benefit', she said.