ArmInfo. The risks of the Amulsar program are underestimated. The deposit is dominated by rocks that absorb and emit acid, which threatens biodiversity, and human health. This during a presentation on June 20, which presented the results of a study of the documents of Lydian International, which operates the gold deposit in Amulsar, said the American expert on environmental issues, Dr. Anne Maest.
She noted that the company's statements that the exploitation of the Amulsar deposit will not affect the quality of the mineral waters of the resort town of Jermuk and other sources in adjacent territories is surprising. The company gave its forecast for sewage from the solid metal waste landfill, which, according to experts, does not correspond to the results of the research. "We believe that there is a need to re-evaluate the project and conduct a second study, in particular geochemical rocks," A. Maest said, noting that rocks containing high levels of sulphide were not investigated
The risk studies of Amulsar projects were commissioned by Harut Bronozyan, a chemical engineer, an expert in the purification of industrial waters, who lives in the United States. Answering ArmInfo's question, he noted that the idea of such a study arose in 2014 in Los Angeles after a meeting with representatives of Lydian International.
"We have no right to stop or close the deposit. We just submitted a professional scientific report, as biochemical assessment and acid drainage is the key object of research in the mining sector and is considered a serious long-term environmental problem, "he concluded.
In particular, Dr. Andre Sobolevsky noted that an active purification system using lime is needed to purify water, whereas Lydian International provides for a passive system.
In addition, he noted that the company's costs for reclamation are not sufficient to close the field. If the project fails, these expenses will become a heavy financial burden for the Armenian people. According to the expert, the government and the people of Armenia must demand from Lydian International to prove their ability to prevent outflow from acid drainage in order to avoid long-term degradation of the environment.
Meanwhile, the expert of the American company Global Resource Engineering, a qualified specialist of the relevant Canadian legislation, Larry Breckenridge, who participated in the development and implementation of the environmental management of the Amulsar program, noted: "As an environmental specialist with 20 years of experience in more than 10 mining programs, I'm very sorry that the consultants of Arut Bronozyan have written a number of criticizing reports on the Amulsar program, without taking part in any studies conducted at the Amulsar field, without communicating with the company's specialists and without discussing any issues with me. "
In particular, he noted that in 2018 experts attracted by Bronozyan refused to participate in the round table discussions at the invitation of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, preferring to prepare the next report based on limited information and on the wrong comments provided by the research company.
According to him, Lydian International published an assessment of social and environmental impact in 2015 and 2016. After this, as it was envisaged by the program, a huge work was done to manage the acid drainage. "We have enough evidence that the methods we have chosen are effective and by means of the best modern standards we will manage any potential problem related to acid drainage rocks," the expert stressed. In addition, he added that acid drainage is a problem for all mining programs. "As we apply the best risk management methods in the framework of the Amulsar program, it is in the interests of all citizens to follow the application of these methods in other mining programs. In this regard, I will be happy if our work will help all stakeholders to be more aware of the existing problem, "he concluded.
To recall, Lydian Armenia is a subsidiary of the British Lydian International, whose shareholders are also large international institutional investors from the United States, Great Britain, a number of European countries, including IFC and EBRD. The Amulsar project is the largest industrial project in Armenia for the development of the Amulsar gold deposit at a total cost of $ 370 million. In August 2016, a project for the construction and development of the field was launched. Preliminary work has been carried out since 2006. The life of the Amulsar deposit will be 10 years and 4 months, an annual average of 200,000 ounces of gold (about 10 million tons of ore) is planned. The company's shares are quoted on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Amulsar deposit is the second largest in Armenia.