The northern end of the Vazashen gold-polymetallic mine site is about 0.4 km away from the Armenian border with Azerbaijan. For the third time, an application has been submitted for geological prospecting at the Vazashen gold-polymetallic mining site in Armenia’s northeastern Tavush Province. The latest applicant, AT Group LLC, has filed an application with the Ministry of Environment for a 2020-2023 exploration permit.
The Armenian-Canadian Polymet Corporation had a permit to conduct geological studies at the Vazashen gold mine site in 2012-2017. Canadian-Armenian Vahakn Jayrents Kayayian owned 80% of the company. The shareholders disagreed about the investments being made and parted ways. A criminal case of illegal gold mining in Vazashen was launched.
In early 2019, AU Group LLC, also founded by Kayayian, applied for a new geological exploration permit. In May 2019, the Ministry of Nature Protection rejected the company’s application company, claiming that most of the requested area was in land under Hayantar (Armenian Forest) SNCO management. As a result of the planned geological research, mineral extraction was envisaged, which is not expedient in forest lands. Furthermore, in 2018, the Tavush Provincial Governor approved a decision that the forested land in question was slated for agriculture and recreation use, and not for mining.
AT Group LLC was registered in November 2019 and founded by Armen Chapukhyan, registered in the Getahovit community of Tavush and Tigran Avetisyan, registered in Arabkir..
The aim of the company, applying for the third time, is to specify the geological structure of the prospective sites, mineralized zones, mining and placement elements, mineral composition and quality of the mineral, as well as the location of the mining areas, as well as the results of the planned works. prospective assessment.
The geological study, if approved, will be carried out in two stages. The first phase will involve the exploration of minerals. The second phase is planned to start in the case of positive results of the first phase, during which the mineral resources will be calculated by summarizing the study results. According to the project, there are no specially protected sites in the area. The closest, at 940 m, is Mount Odzakar, which is considered a natural monument.
The monument, a ridged rocky peak, partly forested with relatively gentle slopes, is on the administrative border of the Paravakar community. A three-hectare protection zone has been established for the natural monument. The conservation zone covers 1.3 hectares of Paravakar community-owned lands, which are mostly pastures, and 1.7 hectares of state forest lands, from Tsaghkavan forestry of Artzvaberd forestry. Article 19 of Armenia’s Law on Specially Protected Areas prohibits any activity that threatens a natural monument in an area where one exists.