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26 Jul 2021

Ani Sargsyan & Kristine Aghalaryan, Hetq

Armenia: Basalt & clay mines responsible for Yerevan air pollution, mining rights largely held by former officials with little supervision

"Mining Exacts a High Toll: Yerevan’s Basalt and Clay Mines", 18 July 2021

The dust swirling in the air above Yerevan often exceeds the maximum allowable concentration (MAC).

According to Armenia’s Statistics Committee, in recent years, the dust in Yerevan has largely exceeded the MAC – dozens, even hundreds of times a year.

...Basalt is the most popular ore mined, followed by gypsum-bearing clay. The mines are mainly located in Yerevan’s Sari Tagh, Ajapnyak, Nork, Jrvezh and Vardashen districts...There are no monitoring sites in the administrative areas where mines operate.

...Research has concluded that most of the mines are exploited without observing the minimum rules, and some, as the official sources report, are illegal since they do not have land use contracts or are in forested lands.

For years, mining companies have not signed lease agreements with the community and have not paid any money to the community budget for the use of those lands. There is no proper supervision of the mines in Yerevan.

Most of the mining companies in Yerevan are companies related to former government officials who easily acquired mining rights and carried out unsupervised extraction.