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 Tuesday, July 9 2019 12:03
Alexandr Avanesov

Minister: Economic expectations from an investment program are often  fraught with environmental risks

Minister: Economic expectations from an investment program are often  fraught with environmental risks

ArmInfo. Economic expectations from an investment program are often fraught with environmental risks. This was stated on July 9 at the extraordinary meeting of the  National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia by the Minister of  Nature Protection Erik Grigoryan, speaking about the results of the  preliminary examination on the Amulsar deposit.  

According to the minister, the economic benefits of a program often face a negative  multiplicative effect.  As an example, Erik Grigoryan cited a  significant increase in fish farms in the Ararat Valley of the  republic, where, due to inappropriate use of available water  resources, about 8,000 agricultural lands were unsuitable for land  use. The same, according to the minister, can be said with regard to  urban planning.  Examination of the Amulsar project, as Erik  Grigoryan stressed, is carried out in the framework of a criminal  case initiated by the Investigative Committee. The preliminary  conclusion of the examination has not yet been translated, and for  this reason it is not possible to give it an expert opinion. The  company "Lydian Armenia" involved in the construction of the gold  mine "Amulsar" is also involved in the research process.

The Minister advised the lawmakers of the Armenian parliament to  contact the Investigative Committee of the Republic of Armenia for  the final version of the examination. Nevertheless, according to him,  the economic expectations from this program should not prevail over  environmental risks, including the extraction of 15 thousand tons of  ore. It should be noted that on May 31, the Investigation Committee  of Armenia received a preliminary conclusion of a comprehensive  examination of the assessment of the impact of the Amulsar field  operation on water resources and the geological environment.  According to the report of the Investigative Committee of Armenia,  the conclusion consists of 150 pages. Currently, a translation of the  text of the opinion is being carried out, the full text of which will  be provided within the agreed time frame.

To recall, Lydian International Limited on March 19 announced that   the Government of the Republic of Armenia had begun an independent   assessment of the environmental impact of the Amulsar Gold project -   water resources, geology, biodiversity and water quality. In   September 2018, the Armenian government has already commissioned an   assessment of the possible consequences of the Amulsar Gold project   in terms of water resources. The scope of work under the current   audit will also include an analysis of the environmental and social   impact assessment ("EIA"), although the company's EIA was previously   approved by the Armenian authorities in accordance with Armenian   legislation even before the company began construction at the Amulsar   field . Earth Link and Advanced Resources Development were chosen as   consulting firms for the assessment by the Armenian government.  In   February 2019, the Armenian government allocated $ 396,900 to  finance the third audit, the start of which was announced earlier. In   this regard, Joao Carrel, President and Chief Executive Officer of   Lydian, said: "We have worked closely with the organizations that   conducted the two previous government audits - since the blockade of   the Amulsar mine in June 2018, and we will, of course, cooperate with   ELARD in an event that the government calls a final audit. " At the   same time, he stressed that the company continues to work with the  Armenian government to ensure the rule of law in order to restore   access to the Amulsar project site and allow Lydian to resume mining   and environmental activities, and all this along with the third   audit. ''

Despite all our efforts, and at the same time - the  intolerance of  the incumbent government to other illegal blockades in  the country -  <Lydian> is not allowed to resume work. The actions  and,  accordingly, the inaction of the Armenian government are part of  an  ongoing campaign against Lydian investments in Armenia. No other   company in Armenia has undergone three inspections since June 2018.    The company does not agree either with the need or with the legal  justification for the third audit, since the Armenian government,   having approved the EIA, has already confirmed that the Amulsar Gold   project meets the environmental requirements of Armenia, and   "Lydian", relying on this approval, invested hundreds of million   dollars.  

To recall, "Lydian Armenia" is a subsidiary of the British  Lydian  International.  The Amulsar project is the largest industrial   project in Armenia today for the development of the Amulsar gold   deposit with a total value of $ 370 million. In August 2016, a   project was launched that involves the construction and development   of the field. 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. Estimated mineral resources, as   indicated in the Technical Report for the 1st quarter of 2017,   contain 3.5 million adjusted and specified ounces of gold and 1.3   million supposed ounces of gold. Amulsar deposit is the second  largest reserve in Armenia. The company is listed on the Toronto   Stock Exchange. Last summer the project had to be frozen due to the   protests of environmental activists who blocked entry to the mine   site under construction.  The new government of Armenia did not use   force and announced the need for a new environmental expertise to   fully assure the safety of future exploitation of the field, located   a few kilometers from the resort town of Jermuk. 

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