Rafik Atayan, the embattled mayor of the village of Kajaran on Armenia’s southern border with Nakhijevan, claims that the Zangezur Copper Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC) has effectively blockaded his village and is employing scare tactics to push through an “eminent domain” land grab.
In April of 2011, the Armenian government decided to hand over large swaths of communal land to ZCMC to expand its mining operation in the area.
Mayor Atayan has been protesting the decision ever since.
"We aren't giving up any land. Where would we go," says the mayor of this village of 230 whose communal lands stretch all the way to the border with Nakhijevan.
Mayor Atayan charges the company with reneging on its promises to improve conditions in the area. The village is without gas and the roads are practically impassable.
Since there is no school in the village, children are transported to town in a bus allocated by the company. But that's the extent of the assistance provided by the mining company.