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16 Nov 2021


Armenia: Derelict town paints a grim picture for the future of mining communities

Dastakert - "Victim" to Mining, 4 November 2021

Dastakert settlement in Syunik Region leaves the impression of a ghost town. Semi-destroyed buildings, infrastructure of the former mining complex, industrial buildings turned into ruins. Out of 3,000 inhabitants, only 200-300 have remained today. The residents began to flee the urban settlement when Dastakert copper-molybdenum ore concentrator and then the medical equipment plant were closed one after another in the city...

In fact, Dastakert can be an indicator to understand what problems the community will face after the cessation of mining activities. Oleg Dulgaryan, President of " Center Community for Mobilization and Support " NGO, who visited the city, mentioned that it is a priority to think about alternative solutions and development in the mining centers in order not to have the fate of Dastakert. "Solutions must be found that will bring people back to that settlement, so that it does not eventually become a ruin, so that it will be possible to live and develop in that settlement in the future," he said...

Unfortunately, the problems of Dastakert are not limited to half-empty and abandoned buildings. The plant, which was liquidated in the 1970s, left an abandoned landfill site and an uncultivated tailings pond. Over the years, the latter has dried up, been covered with certain vegetation, and continues to ferment many toxic substances and heavy metals, which cause regular pollution of the Ayri River flowing near the tailing dump...