Alaverdi copper smelting plant fuming over the town of 11,000 inhabitants



The vicinity of mining and metallurgical enterprises in Lori Province, Armenia, is likely to be contaminated with dangerous chemicals, mainly copper, exceeding legal standards and hygienic norms. Local hotspots that have a direct impact on environmental pollution are located either in close proximity to the urban areas or directly within them. The samples from the River Debed contained the highest levels of toxic metals, potentially affecting the people farming alongside the riverbank, experts from the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague have said. Local and foreign organizations are calling for rigorous action on the part of governmental bodies.

The copper smelter in Alaverdi, the mine and tailing pond in Teghut, and several tailing ponds around the town of Akhtala – those are the largest industrial sites of the Lori region and according to the latest research, also the cause of the presence of copper, zinc, molybdenum, lead, and arsenic in the neighbouring environment.

The copper levels found in sediments extracted from the River Debed show a rapid increase in samples extracted just below the industrial sites exceeding the background levels as much as a hundred times.

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