The Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Plant, the main shareholder of which is the German Kronimet Mining company involved in mining at the Gajaran mine, poses a serious threat to the environment and human health, polluting the Okhchuchay River on a catastrophic scale.
The length of Okhchuchay, the left tributary of the Araz River, is 83 kilometers, the basin area is 1,175 square kilometers. The river originates on the Gapyjygh mountain (3,285 meters) of the Zangezur ridge.
The river, most of which is located in the Syunik region of Armenia (the historical region of Azerbaijan called Zangezur), flows through the liberated Zangilan district and drains into the Araz River. The main streams of water are formed from snow (46 percent), rain (10 percent) and groundwater (44 percent). The average annual water flow is 10 cubic meters per second, the average annual volume is 315 million cubic meters, 40 percent of the annual flow is formed in spring, 43 percent – in summer, 10 percent – in autumn, and 7 percent – in winter.
Environmentalists have carried out monitoring on the rivers flowing through the territory of the liberated Zangilan district. A large number of heavy metals, in particular copper, molybdenum, iron, zinc, chromium and manganese, were found in water samples taken in the Okhchuchai River from January through June 2021. According to the monitoring reports of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the content of the copper-molybdenum compound in the river was twice the norm, iron – 4 times, nickel – 7 times, and due to pollution, the color of the water in the river periodically changed. In March 2021, the mass death of the Golden Trout (Small Trout) was recorded in the river. As a result of the monitoring carried out at different times – in high water and at low water levels – it was found that the content of heavy metals throughout the year was much higher than the norm:
January 9, 2021. Nickel content was 7.1 times higher than the norm;
January 28, 2021. The content of manganese was 3.6 times more than the norm, iron – 4.6 times, nickel – 5.7 times, cadmium – 3.5 times, ammonium – 1.6 times, lead – 1.3 times, zinc – 1.2 times, molybdenum – 2.5 times;
February 5, 2021. The content of manganese is 2 times, iron is 3.5 times, nickel is 3.6 times, molybdenum is 1.7 times higher than the norm;
This video covers the ecological situation in the Okhchuchay river. Currently, the river is being polluted by the Zangazur Copper-Molybdenum Plant located in Armenia. The video also tells the story of Ilgar Mammadov, a resident of Zangilan, who forcibly left Zangilan 27 years ago and, for the first time, goes his homeland after the occupation.