Armenian Copper Programme cjsc realizes its activity in spheres bearing essential environmental risks. The company has essential environmental problems caused by the operation of the copper smelting plant. Since the day of launching the copper smelting plant, the company has been continually seeking effective methods to make its activities safe from environmental point of view and in conformity with the principles of sustainable development.
The solution to the problem was completely achieved by the company by means of excluding water outflow exceeding the permissible levels. Both the mine and the concentration plant of the company have always performed on a closed circulation system. In 2005 a closed circulation system was installed also in the slag granulation basin of the copper smelting plant. Unfortunately, the company could not have the same success in minimizing the emissions. Within the scope of environmental events projects ratified in 2003, the company realized several steps towards minimizing negative impact on environment. Particularly, thanks to the operation of two cyclones together with every converter it became possible to considerably minimize non-organized outflow of sulphurous gases and to add the quantity of dust being collected and retreated. Besides that, starting from 2003, with the repair of every converter, realized once in a quarter, vacuum cleaner strengthening has been carried out. As a result, at present, non-organized outflow of gasses does not exceed 3 %, and practically the only source of sulphurous gas outflow today is the gas pipe. What hinders a radical solution is the problem of inability to minimize the outflows from the gas pipe. The fact is that while founding the company copper filtration and sulphuric acid production, all the workshops and other auxiliary subconstructions of the factory, required for maintaining the quantity of sulphurous anhydride emitted into the atmosphere within the limits safe from environmental point of view, were destroyed and out of order. Meanwhile, the presence of certain problems, like stable raw material supply and sale, make long-term construction of a new sulphuric acid production workshop unfavorable. Anyway, the company has acquired and imported pieces of expensive equipment into Armenia and has constructed and launched а semi-industrial plant/station for limestone and lime neutralization of sulphurous anhydride operating on experimental regime. During experimental practice in 2007 the productiveness of the plant/station was increased up to 70-75%. The company has never ceased looking for ways to make its activity environmentally safe. Unfortunately, no practically effective way has been found for the solution to the problem so far. Continuation of the operation of the copper smelting plant depends on the solution to this problem and some other factors as well.