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How geology is reviving in Armenia

A story by Mediamax.

Geoteam CSJC which holds the licenses for the the Amulsar gold project covered the tuition fees of 12 students from the adjacent communities as part of  its social programs.

Students from Gorayk, Saravan and Gndevaz communities study in the Geological Department of the YSU and Department of Mining and Metallurgy of Yerevan State Engineering University. The leadership of the company says that the program aims not only to help the youth of the communities to become specialists but also try to "revive" the development of geology in Armenia.

Over decades, geology has been considered one of the most  prestigious professions in Armenia. Armenian geologists worked not only in Armenia and USSR but also in far Cuba, for instance. As geologists often went on trips, the profession was accompanied with numerous real and incredible stories which made the profession extremely attractive for youth. Geology as many other spheres recessed in Armenia after the collapse of the USSR and the profession of a geologist lost the  attractiveness it once had. But as Geoteam Managing Director  and lecturers of the YSU and YSEU say, now young people start showing interest to geology again.

“We already have high-skilled specialists as a result of this  program”, Director of Geoteam CJSC, geologist Hayk Aloyan told Mediamax.

“The students start working in Amulsar program as beginners. Workers are paid minimum AMD 130000 in our company and skillful specialists naturally get  much higher salary”, he noted.

Davit Davtyan is from the village of Saravan. He studies in the Geology Department of YSU and has been working in “Geoteam” for 2 years. He was informed about the opportunity to study for free while working in the company. “I had 2-year experience and I decided to get higher education as well.” Davit thinks that studying is not enough for becoming a specialist - one also should be given the opportunity to utilize  the skills in practice and Geoteam's Amulsar project gives that opportunity. As a beginner Davit was doing a job of a worker while now he’s responsible for shifts.

Taron Ghazaryan who studies in the YSEU Department of Mining and Metallurgy is also from the village of Saravan. He is getting a specialization in metallurgy and study of materials. He says that Geoteam somehow helped  him to make this choice and he was relieved of the burden of paying tuition fee as well.

Gagik Markosyan, Associate Professor at the Geophysics Chair of YSU Geography and Geology Department, welcomes the support to the students and thinks that it should be an example for other mining companies as well.

“Nowadays, mainly elderly people work in the geology sector of Armenia and their number reduces year by year and the younger generation is almost deprived of the opportunity to do a practical job”, said Gagik Markosyan adding that modernization of study equipment is also very urgent. “In that case, we'll have the opportunity to prepare better specialists”, he said.

“Such social programs are extremely important. The university should be stricter to such students so as we could be sure that paying the money is justified. It's not possible to yield good results only at the expense of governmental programs especially in our profession”, said the lecturer of the same department, Candidate of Geological Sciences Hovhannes Gyumjyan.

“A geologist becomes a specialist not only in the university during classes and lab experiments but also in mountains and fields where he should apply his theoretical skills. I am glad we have an organization which is ready to cover the tuition fee of the students and provide them with jobs in the future. And a student that is a beneficiary of such  program ought to study very well”, said Hovhannes Gyumjyan.

Armen Hovhannisyan, head of the Chair of Geodesy and Environment of the YSEU Department of Geodesy and Metallurgy, PhD in Technical Sciences, also hails the initiative of Geoteam.

“They are always ready to sponsor the students living in the adjacent communities of the mine who chose relevant professions and settle their serious social problems”, he said.

Geoteam started its social projects back in 2007 when the company had only 3 employees - CEO, accountant and senior geologist.

“We highly value the  trust of the communities and it's important for us that the communities benefit from Amulsar program. The annual average volume of our social programs makes USD 300 thousand. We are implementing numerous programs. For example, we allocated AMD24mln to the renovation of the Gorayk school this year and allocated AMD42mln for gasification of Saravan village. We see the result of both our social programs and creation of workplaces – outmigration stopped and there is even  inflow of people in the 3 adjacent communities”, said Hayk Aloyan.

He noted that the annual budgets of the communities reached from AMD5mln up to around AMD70mln owing to the lease of the lands  by the company and the growth  continues.