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.