It is necessary to form an idea of the need for rational use of mines in society

Since 2019, “Chaarat Kapan” CJSC is one of the assets of the British company “Chaarat Gold International Limited”. It exploits Shahumyan gold-polymetallic deposit of Syunik region by underground mining method.

 The Company produces gold concentrates with silver and copper, and zinc concentrates with gold and silver content. The annual productivity of the mine is 600,000 tons. 

 The company has 1,001 employees, and more than 500 people work in partner contractor organizations that provide services to the company.  

 The average salary in “Chaarat Kapan” is around AMD 448,000.  Paid taxes and other mandatory fees: AMD 6,128,601,805.

Environmental issues
The operation of the Shahumyan gold-polymetallic mine from the point of view of environmental, production safety and efficient use of resources, the company implements various projects to reduce the impact on the environment, the Administration Director of Chaarat Kapan Edgar Hovhannisyan said in a conversation with

A modern ventilation system operates in the underground mine. A dust suppression system has also been introduced, and water tanks are also used.

As a result of the experimental work of the company specialists, the company recorded a successful experience: a car with an internal combustion engine was transformed into a car powered by an electric motor. Taking into account this successful experience, the company is currently investigating the possibilities of introducing and using equipment with electric motors in the underground mine, which will contribute to the reduction of emissions.

“In this regard, we are constantly looking for safer and more favorable conditions for employees. The underground communication system has been improved, as well as a location program for employees and mine equipment has been implemented, which is one of the important programs aimed at improving workplace safety, through which we can see where our employee is at the moment in the mine, it helps in a prompt response when incidents are reported. Our efforts focused on safety are constant and continuous,” he says.

Referring to the Geghanush tailings dam operated by the company, our interviewee mentioned that the tailings dam works with a closed water circulation system, that is, it was designed in such a way that the emissions to the environment were reduced to a minimum. By the way, the Geghanush river is separated by a tunnel and bypasses the tailings dam, which excludes the possibility of river pollution.

According to the Administrative Director of the company, the tailings dam has two dams, preparatory work is underway to further strengthen the tailings dam, but the project has not yet started, for this, it is necessary to implement a number of stages, but representatives of civil society and environmental organizations speak out about the project before it starts, it was alleged, that the company is engaged in illegal activities, which, of course, has not been confirmed by the relevant authorities.

In order to avoid possible problems related to strengthen the Geghanush tailings dam during the further operation, a project is being developed to ensure stability. The company also involved the international consulting company SRK in these works. In general, to solve environmental problems and improve the legislative field in this direction, the company actively cooperates with the Union of Miners and Metallurgists of Armenia, providing its professional potential.

Taking into account the problems raised by its members in this direction, and reasonable considerations aimed at solving them, the Union, on behalf of commodity producers, proposed amending the Law “On Assessment and Expertise of Environmental Impact”. The draft law passed the first reading in the National Assembly, negotiations and discussions with state bodies are still ongoing.

Social Projects 

The company’s annual planned budget for social programs is 150 million AMD, but programs implemented in the affected communities usually exceed this amount. “The social policy of recent years is aimed at intensifying cooperation with the affected community. We mainly invest in capital projects,” says Edgar Hovhannisyan.

The road from the city of Kapan to Geghanush has been completely repaired, projects have been completed to repair and equip kindergartens, cultural centers, and medical institutions of the affected communities. A new kindergarten in the Kapan community will be opened in September, the work is fully funded by “Chaarat Kapan” CJSC. These are the programs of last year, the programs caused by the epidemic and the 44-day war were also numerous and complex.

 Problems of the Sector

The company is concerned about the year-by-year decrease in interest among applicants in science subjects. It is most noticeable in such key professions related to the field as geology, mining and metallurgy, and other disciplines. Currently, the company is experiencing a shortage of geologists, mountain masters, drillers, mountain engineers, surveyors, and technical workers. “In this sense, not only our company but also the republic has a problem,” says Ara Barseghyan, advisor to the General Director of “Chaarat Kapan” CJSC. It is necessary to adopt new approaches so that the applicants are interested and motivated to continue their studies in these professions. It is obvious. There is a lot to do here.

“Chaarat Kapan” CJSC pursues a policy aimed at increasing the recognition of professions related to the mining industry. For example, the company pays great attention to the use of modern technologies in the mining industry. Modern computer programs have been introduced for this purpose. Over the years, the company has supported the development of the professional skills of employees. For this purpose, experience exchange programs have been implemented many times, both in Armenia and abroad, and seminars and courses have always been organized. As a result of such work, the personnel trained in the Company enjoy great demand and reputation both in Armenia and abroad.

“I must say with pain that the media is flooded with only calls to close existing mines and not open new ones. In this sense, there is also a need to introduce professions to the general public that, if properly performed, will guarantee the competent operation of the mining industry. After all, the development of societies has always been interconnected with the extraction of minerals. It is necessary to form an idea in society about the need for rational use of the mine,” the Adviser to the General Director of “Chaarat Kapan” CJSC is convinced.

Ara Barseghyan also noted that their company is also a member of the Union of Miners and Metallurgists of Armenia. The Union is an organization of conscientious subsoil users concerned about the problems of mining and the future of Armenia, the purpose of which is to present the problems of mining to the state and, together with the state, to find optimal solutions to these problems, which is another way to strengthen cooperation with the state. For example, recently the Union has come up with quite large-scale proposals for improving the legislative framework regulating the sector, which is still under discussion. The problems in the field are diverse and Ara Barseghyan believes that their optimal solutions can be found through joint work.