The AUA Acopian Center for the Environment hosted a public seminar on the environmental impact of mineral extraction and processing in Armenia. The presentation explored the process of ore extraction and refinement for copper, gold and molybdenum and was delivered by Mr. Agustin Tashdjian, a Birthright/Armenian Volunteer Corps intern from Argentina.


During his presentation, Mr. Tashdjian also discussed the environmental risks associated with these practices. He concluded by focusing on some of the risk-management and pollution-prevention measures used in copper mining and point out mitigation measures that are applicable to the mining of gold and molybdenum.

Over the past decade, environmental concerns over metal mining in Armenia have become more vocal.

The environmental impact of mining goes far beyond the scarring of the landscape. The process of extraction and the tailing dumps created can pollute the air, soil, and water for a very long period. Such pollution often also poses risks to the livelihood of communities living in the proximity of these mining sites.

For the past two months, Tashdjian has been working at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment under the supervision of Dr. Karen Aghababyan. He has been conducting an extensive literature review on ore extraction and processing, especially for copper, gold, and molybdenum.

Mr. Tashdjian is currently studying for his Master’s in chemistry at the Buenos Aires University. In addition to his studies, he is working at the Electrochemistry Research Lab under the tutelage of Professor Graciela A. Gonzalez. Tashdjian’s main area of interest is environmental chemistry, an area he will pursue further in his PhD studies.