BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 26. A regular meeting of the commission under the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Ali Asadov, set up by a decision of the Cabinet of Ministers dated June 21, 2023, to investigate the situation in the village of Soyudlu, Gadabay district, has been held, Trend reports.
The meeting discussed the report on the results of monitoring conducted by the British company Micon International Co Limited on the mining owned by the Azerbaijan International Mining Company (AIMC), and recommendations in this regard.
Micon International Co Limited, which has international experience in the mining sector, was previously invited to Azerbaijan in order to conduct environmental monitoring, assessment of health, environment and labor protection in the mining territory of AIMC operating in Soyudlu village.
Asadov noted that President Ilham Aliyev gave the corresponding instruction in connection with the unpleasant incident that occurred on June 20 in the village of Soyudlu, at a meeting dedicated to the socio-economic results of the first half of the year.
Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Chairman of the State Commission, Mukhtar Babayev reported on the results of monitoring conducted over the past two months at the landfill in Soyudlu village and adjacent territories, and the work done during this period.
He said that Micon International Co Limited was invited to Azerbaijan in connection with the immediate implementation of the President's instructions to address issues of concern to the population, from July 25 through August 1, 2023, experts conducted independent monitoring in the Gadabay mining field and adjacent territories – the city of Gadabay, the villages of Soyudlu, Yenikend, Arikhdam and the Gumlu residential area water and soil samples were taken from the Gadabay and Mis rivers, the level of concentration of toxic gases, including dust particles in the atmospheric air, radiation background and noise level were measured.
Underground water samples were taken at 20 sites in the Gadabey mining field, and groundwater samples were taken at 18 sites. Water quality monitoring data were analyzed by 35 parameters (cyanide content in water, the number of dissociated particles in a common, free and slightly acidic medium).
In addition, soil samples were taken in a total of 29 sites of the Gadabay mining and adjacent territories, including a landfill, areas along the pipeline corridor and adjacent settlements, and were analyzed for 17 parameters (pH, sulfate, calcium, magnesium, total cyanide, radiation, etc.).
Using portable analyzers of gas, dust, noise, vibration and radioactivity in eight sites, including the Gadabay mining field and adjacent settlements, a total of 32 measurements were made to monitor air quality.
In the report prepared by Micon International Co Limited, it is brought to attention that shortcomings in the activities of the Azerbaijani International Mining Company in matters of health, environment, labor protection and management of relations with the local population have been assessed.
According to the results, it was revealed that a number of indicators in water bodies exceed the norm, but this does not pose a danger to the environment and human health.
During the monitoring of underground water in industrial and residential areas, a small amount of cyanide was recorded in the water of three observation wells on the territory of the plant. Although these indicators are many times lower than the maximum permissible concentration, this fact can be considered as a potential risk to the environment.
In addition, a number of indicators in soil samples taken from the production area and from adjacent territories turned out to be higher than the maximum permissible concentration. Micon explained this by the peculiarities of the mineralization of the region and the historical presence of the mining industry.
The company has a cyanide management plan developed in 2016, but it was recommended to adjust it. Since the installations and equipment at the main processing plants are outdated, investments in operational, environmental, social and safety issues are required to bring the mining industry in line with international standards.
Moreover, monitoring was carried out on the territory, identified risks were studied, a number of requirements related to human health, technogenic safety, modernization of production were put forward and recommendations were made to the leadership of the Azerbaijan International Mining Company in order to take urgent measures on issues of concern to the population.
The Azerbaijan International Mining Company examined the report of Micon International Co Limited, which is analytical and advisory in nature, and undertook to prepare and submit in a short time appropriate schedules for the implementation of the recommendations and tasks set.
In general, Prime Minister Ali Asadov gave instructions in connection with the commission holding a meeting in the near future with the participation of residents of the city of Gadabay, the villages of Soyudlu, Yenikend, Arikhdam and the Gumlu residential area, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations and the media, upcoming work to address issues of concern to the population.
A gradual restoration of the plant's activities can be ensured after the Azerbaijani International Mining Company, in accordance with these recommendations and instructions, prepares and submits a schedule for reconstruction and modernization, and coordinates it with relevant state institutions.