Some 1,500 local and international organizations for saving Tekhut forest in Lori region, Armenia

Source: Arminfo, 2007-08-22

Some 1.5 thousand of local and international organizations have responded to the action for saving Tekhut forest in Lori region, Armenia, Ecolur public organization told ArmInfo.

Action Alert is aimed against development of Tekhut copper and molybdenum deposit. Armenia Tree project American charitable fund organized the action on June 21. The initiative was made after the new government was formed and Aram Haroutiunyan was appointed the new nature protection minister. The former minister Vardan Ayvazyan motivated the development of the deposit by ‘political decision’ and benefits from additional payments top the state budget.

Armenian Copper Project (ACP) submitted Tekhut development project to the Government of Armenia in March 2006. Majority of ecological organizatinos are concerned over this project because it may kill 600 h of woods and many rare species living in the area. The situation was aggravated when the State Nature Protection Expertise of the Armenian Nature Protection Ministry approved the project on November 7 2006. Experts say thet project does not meet the ecological safety requirements and the damage assesment does not correspond to reality.

Afterwards, the public applied to President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan ‘for help in stopping Tekhut project.’ Then, the new minister Aram Haroutiunyan made some staff reshuffles. As a result, Ashot Santrosyan, Head of the State Nature Protection Expertise was dismissed. Moreover, the minister told NGOs that he intends to revise the project's legality.