An economic dilemma is brewing in Armenia, where efforts to develop an open-pit gold mine may pose an ecological threat to a picturesque resort town.
Jermuk, a spa town nestled on a mountainside in southern Armenia, is widely known in the region for its sanatoriums and bottled mineral water. Officials in Yerevan are interested in developing the area's tourism potential, and four years ago, they unveiled a plan to turn Jermuk, which currently attracts about 5,000 tourists annually, into an international-standard winter health resort. If all goes well, the government hopes the make-over can generate about $100 million per year in tax revenue.
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Gayane Abrahamyan is a reporter for ArmeniaNow.com in Yerevan.