Amulsar, It Keeps Getting Worse

If you’ve been following Armenian news at all, you’re aware that the proposed gold mine at Amulsar (which interestingly, coincidentally, translates to “Impotent Mountain” – you’ll see why below) is a very hot issue in the Republic of Armenia (RoA).

The local population has barricaded roads and prevented progress on the mine for a year or so. Lydian, the company proposing to exploit the gold deposits there claims it’s safe to proceed with their operation. However, a report recently released has found countless flaws in the environmental impact documents prepared by Lydian. But since then, Prime Minister Pashinyan has stated that there are no legal grounds to block this mining operation. A lot of people are very angry because of what the “side effects” of this mine can cause.

Armenia’s famous Chermoug/Jermouk mineral water is threatened since the source is nearby the mine. There are the usual dust, tailings (leftover rock and sludge that are commonly toxic), and biological impacts (plant and animal life damaged). Plus, there’s the disruption of human activity in the region because of the short, decades-long, productive life of a mine relative to the hundreds if not thousands of years-long aftereffects of the mining operation.

Up to now, the biggest known risk was to Lake Sevan, the heart of the RoA. In about 130 years, acidified waters originating from and caused by this mining operation will reach the lake and very possibly cause serious harm to it.  All this is just review, old news.

Now, it turns out that the whole area may be subject to radioactive exposure!

This was reported by Naneh Avagian last week in the Armenian language edition of Asbarez. Her “Experts Insist Amoolsar’s Exploitation Be Prohibited Because of the Presence of Large Quantities of Uranium” presents the information revealed at a September 18 program organized by Abril Bookstore in Glendale, CA titled “Amulsar: What’s Next” with speakers Dr. Gagik Melikian and Harout Bronozian.

Melikian cited a Soviet era report of findings from exploration done in 1952-54 and classified as top secret at the time. He said they had discovered 100 tonnes of uranium at Amulsar, along with radium and thorium. The latter two are definitely radioactive and uranium can also be, depending on which isotope is present. These elements are radioactive because they decay. That is the atom’s nucleus breaks down naturally and emits alpha particles (helium nuclei) which can cause cancers of various types. In addition, arsenic, lead and mercury are found in the ground at Amulsar, which are toxic to humans in their own right.

This Soviet era document should be republished in Armenian and English (I am assuming it exists in Russian) to confirm the radioactivity data. Once confirmed, the RoA government would have no more excuses, the Lydian mining operation would have to be shut down since any and every government is charged with attending to the well-being of its people. Clearly, exposing any population to radioactivity in their homes cannot be described as seeing to their well-being.

It’s unfortunate that no one had signs calling on Prime Minister Pashinyan to shut down the mine when he visited Los Angeles and spoke to a crowd of thousands gathered in Grand Park. But now, Armenians worldwide should be calling on him to do the right thing and terminate the travesty that is the Amulsar mine.

Contact your nearest RoA government representative and let her/him know that you don’t want our homeland and its people poisoned so some profiteers can make millions off what I’ll call “blood gold” (like blood diamonds and blood chocolate from Africa).

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Garen Yegparian

Asbarez Columnist
Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble. His is a weekly column that appears originally in Asbarez, but has been republished to the Armenian Weekly for many years.
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5 Comments

  1. I find it so ironic, that the guy who led the Velvet Revolution, a popular grassroots movement whose fundamental goals were to root our governmental corruption and mismanagement, should be the same guy who has sold out his country. I guess its common knowledge that the country is strapped for cash, but the long term well being of the country is at stake here and he should know better than to support this mining operation. The development of this mine has the unfortunate quality of having both the poison associated with typical mining operations (cyanide, mercury and other toxic waste), but in addition, there are radioactive materials to be found here, namely uranium and other radioactive materials that will poison everything and everybody downstream of the mine, most importantly Lake Sevan, the source of most of the country;’s potable water. Frankly, this potential is much worse than the damage caused by Pashinyan’s predecessors. Theirs was economic violation of the motherland. This is worse, it could possibly make the land of Armenia unable to support healthy life. This is a far greater sin than any previous president has committed.

  2. Nikol and his Western funded kindergarten will do their best to push this Anglo-American project forward.

    In the big picture, pushing a Western agenda in Armenia, is why they are in power. Attempts by the “international community” to settle the Artsakh dispute under its terms and the exploitation Armenia’s strategic gold reserves by foreign interests are the two fundamental reasons Serj Sargsyan brought British national Armen Sargsyan back to Armenia and then turned power over to Nikol in 2018. It is a fact that Nikol was put into power by Western interests and Globalists. The CIA backed NED and the George Soros backed Open Society Foundation were instrumental in Nikol’s rise to power. Therefore, Nikol is NOT in power to serve Armenian interests. As for Russia, recognizing how self-destructive Armenians are as a group of people, Moscow is simply tolerating him for now. For his part, Nikol has been giving in to Russian demands to simply save his skin and buy his Western agenda more time. Russians know that if Armenia is to survive in a place like the south Caucasus Armenia has no choice but to remain Russia’s ally.

    We therefore have a very strange and dangerous situation on our hands, compliments of the sheeple’s choice of course. We now have a country that is fully dependent on Russia for survival, being run by a government that is essentially in the service of Western powers and Globalists. Reminder: Russia is landlocked Armenia’s main provider of affordable energy (including nuclear), modern arms and military training, trade and investments, tourism, work opportunities. Reminder: Landlocked, impoverished and tiny Armenia is located in one of the most unstable and unforgiving – not to mention Turkic and Islamic – regions of the world.

    Armenia is worst off today than it was a year ago. A year from now Armenia will be worst of than it is today. Armenia’s future has not looked this bleak. Armenian politics has not been this unstable. War clouds are gathering over the entire region and we have a bunch of West-leaning, Liberal Millennials in power. It’s a formula for disaster. But, the shortsighted, self-destructive and politically illiterate “Armenian Street” cloud not be happier because it got rid of the “Karabakh Clan”. “Democracy” is indeed proving to be toxic, especially for an immature people like us suffering from illusions of grandure. The most troubling part for me in all this the realization that we Armenians as a collective people (both in and out of the homeland) are incapable of doing anything truly positive or constructive when it comes to Armenia’s long term survival in a dangerous pace like the south Caucasus. Let’s also recognize that we as a people failed miserably to lobby Armenian interests – both in Moscow AND Tehran – because Our psychologically troubled and “չտես” peasantry’s attention has been too fixated on the razzle/dazzle of the Western world for the past 30-plus years.

    Scratch the surface of an Armenian today (including the wealthiest and most “educated” among us) and you will find a gypsy, a peasant or a petty merchant. We as a people do not understand politic. We as a people do not understand nation-building. The last 2500-plus years has proven that we Armenians are survivors, we are not thrivers.

    With these Western agents and Neo-Bolsheviks now in power, Armenia’s situation on the global stage will gradually get worst in the coming years. In the process, we as a people will run the risk of not only ruining Armenian culture and polluting Armenia’s vital/strategic water resources but also losing significant amounts of land in Artsakh.

    Right now, Russians have NO reason to do us any favors and EVERY reason to teach us a lesson. That lesson is coming. I don’t know when it will happen or what form it will take but a day of reckoning is certainly is coming. Once we begin suffering serious setbacks/defeats on the battlefield as well as the political front, we will see our peasantry start crying and complaining that things are not going our way. When the proverbial kaka hits the fan, many of today’s big, bad “nationalists” will be begging for Russian help – while the rest of our pathetic peasantry will be meekly falling at the feet of Western officials.

    At a deep genetic/cultural/psychological level, we Armenians do not know how to achieve and/or handle victory, we only know how to weep, complain, beg and commemorate defeat and tragedy. We are excellent protestors and terrible nation-builders. I don’t expect any of you reading this to understand or agree with anything I have said. Some of you however will come to this sobering conclusion eventually, the rest of you however will go on, as usual, blaming others (primarily Russians) for all our failure…

  3. Thank you Concerned Armenian. I’m from Ukraine and understand your (in national proportion) frustration. Still, I hope younger generation politicians will change the situation and your future writing title will be “The proud Armenian” …

  4. Thank you, Victor. Unfortunately, I am not very hopeful about the younger generation in Armenia. The younger generation in the country grew up on American/Western pop culture. Globalization, Americanism and Westernization is saturating the country. Armenia today is drowning in Afro-American and Turko-Kurdish garbage. As a result, the country is in a steep decline culturally, economically and politically. Simple example: Landlocked, small, impoverished and surrounded by enemies, Armenia lives because of her ties with Russia. But, younger Armenians speak better English than Russian and Armenian politicians (particularity those in power today) want to be in bed with Anglo-American criminals. It just does not add up. The further we as a people move from our Soviet/Russian past, the past that put Armenia on the world map and gave the world world-class talent during the past 2 hundred years, the closer we will get to our downfall as a civilization.

  5. Instead of showing “concern” towards the creative, bright younger generation of Armenia, our deeply concerned Russian nationalist commentators should instead be showing concern towards the weed-smoking, beer-drinking, steroids-abusing, clumsy, vulgar younger generation of Russia (however, in fairness to Russia’s younger generation, it’s certainly a lot better than the older generation).

    So what if American movies and music happen to be popular among the young people of Armenia? At least American movies and music are so much more exciting than the extremely boring garbage offered by the Russian movie and music industries. As a matter of fact, American movies and music happen to be a lot more popular among Russia’s young people than Russian movies and music.

    “Landlocked, small, impoverished and surrounded by enemies, Armenia lives because of her ties with Russia.”

    Not all of Armenia’s neighbors happen to be enemies. Georgia (Armenia’s northern neighbor) is not an enemy. As for Iran (Armenia’s southern neighbor), it has a very warm relationship with Armenia.

    As for those “ties” with Russia, don’t forget that Russia also happens to live because of its “ties” with Armenia. Without Armenia in the south Caucasus (which therefore means that Turkey would be connected to Azerbaijan along with all the other Turkic countries), Russia will easily be crushed into pieces by a combination of the Turkic countries, NATO, and China.

    Under Prime Minister Pashinyan’s administration, the level of poverty in Armenia is already being reduced. And although I intensely disapprove of his handling of the Amulsar mining project issue, he has nevertheless reversed the steep cultural, economic, and political decline that Armenia was subjected to under the disastrous regimes of Serzh Sargsyan, Robert Kocharyan, and LTP. Prime Minister Pashinyan has already made significant improvements to Armenia since his arrival; and as a result, the country is doing a whole lot better now.

    In terms of “wanting to be in bed with Anglo-American criminals,” exactly which Anglo-American criminal is Prime Minister Pashinyan attempting to go to bed with? Hey, the only person that he goes to bed with, is his wife, Anna Hakobyan.

    Nice try in attempting to crown Russia as the one that put Armenia on the world map, but you’re nowhere close. It was Hayk Nahapet who put Armenia on the world map, back in 2492 BC, after defeating and killing the Babylonian king Bel (in the Battle of Giants) near the mountains of Lake Van. That’s over three thousand years before your country appeared on the world map.

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