Friday, November 16 2018 14:38
Marianna Mkrtchyan

UN Special Rapporteur did not see pressure on activists opposing the  exploitation of Amulsarskoye field

UN Special Rapporteur did not see pressure on activists opposing the  exploitation of Amulsarskoye field

ArmInfo. UN Special Rapporteur Clement Nyaletsossi Voule on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association did not see pressure on  protesters who oppose the Amulsar mineral assets.

Thus, during a press conference in Yerevan on October 16, presenting the results of  his visit to Armenia, the speaker informed that his attention also  focused on issues related to the use of natural resources. In his  opinion, the use of natural resources should be fair. In this  context, he informed that he had visited Amulsar and had a meeting  with activists who had peacefully blocked the road to the field.  Voule stressed the importance of the authorities consulting with  community representatives and conducting explanatory work on the  exploitation of the field.

Answering the question of whether the UN Special Rapporteur sees  attempts to exert pressure on activists, Voule stressed that the  Armenian government expressed its readiness to listen to the problems  voiced and assured that without a proper legal certificate, no field  will be exploited. "As I said, I had a short meeting with activists  to understand their condition. The UN Human Rights Office received a  complaint regarding attempts to exert pressure on the participants of  the meeting, but I did not have time to study it in detail, as I was  already going to Armenia For me, the obligations that the government  has taken on themselves, namely, to carry out explanatory work with  the communities, as well as assurances that more than one field will  not operate without a legal license, are important. Public facts  related to legal booty, as in this case, "said the UN Special  Rapporteur, while repeating that he saw no action to put pressure on  the activists of the movement.

At the same time, he expressed the conviction that the Armenian  government should make more efforts to carry out explanatory work  with the public, and especially with communities near the fields.   ArmInfo previously reported that during his working visit to France,  Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a meeting in Paris with Chairman  of the Board of Directors of Lydian International, Gordon Wylie, and  Council Member Julian Davidson. According to official information,  during the meeting, the situation around the Amulsar field  development program and possible solutions to the existing problems  were discussed. Nikol Pashinyan in this context emphasized the  priority and importance of the safety of the resources of Sevan Lake  and mineral water sources in the Amulsar region. At the same time,  the head of government noted that any decision should be based on  concrete facts.

He also stressed the importance of the dialogue between Lydian  International and the public on the Amulsar project. The issue of  mastering the project was the subject of discussions that took place  on September 12 between the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia  and the Ambassadors of the United States and Great Britain - Richard  Mills and Judith Margareth Farnworth. Earlier, the inspection agency  for mineral resources and nature protection suspended the development  of the Amulsar gold-bearing field due to the discovery of the blue  clove and Apollo butterfly in the area. At the same time, the  Prosecutor General's Office of Armenia opened a criminal case against  the ''Lydian Armenia'' company for illegal mining. Subsequently, the  Ministry of Nature Protection as a result of the research did not  reveal any carnations and butterflies listed in the Red Book.  According to ArmInfo, the issue of the environmental safety of  Amulsar has now been referred to a large international consulting  company for assessing such risks, the conclusion of which is expected  in early spring. This expertise will form the basis for the final  decision on the future of the field.

To recall, ''Lydian Armenia'' is a subsidiary of British Lydian  International, whose shareholders are major international  institutional investors from the United States, Great Britain, and a  number of European countries, including the EBRD. The Amulsar project  is the largest industrial project in Armenia today for the  development of the Amulsar gold deposit worth $ 370 million, 300 of  which have already been invested. In August 2016, the start of the  project, involving the construction and development of the field,  took place. Preparatory work has been going on since 2006. The life  of the Amulsar deposit will be 10 years and 4 months, it is planned  to produce an average of 200 thousand ounces of gold (about 10  million tons of ore) annually. As part of the Amulsar program, 1,300  jobs will be created during construction (construction work will last  about 2 years) and 650-700 jobs throughout the operation of the  field. The company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Amulsar  deposit is the second largest reserves in Armenia.

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