Thursday, August 22 2019 11:16
Alexandr Avanesov

Deputy Prime Minister: It is necessary to rely on facts and expert  opinions when making decisions on the Amulsar field

Deputy Prime Minister: It is necessary to rely on facts and expert  opinions when making decisions on the Amulsar field

ArmInfo.When making decisions on the Amulsar field in Armenia, it is necessary to rely on facts and expert opinions, and not on emotions, desires, personal  likes or dislikes, no matter how weighty these factors are, RA Deputy  Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan wrote on his Faceobook page.

According to him, the key issues in making the final decision were  the risks associated with the possibilities for pollution of the  water resources of Jermuk, the catchment basin and Lake Sevan.  Meanwhile, as the Deputy Prime Minister continued, ELARD dispelled  these concerns. According to the company's conclusion, the risks  expressed by ecologists over a long period of time in relation to  Jermuk and Sevan. Do not exist.

The Deputy Prime Minister emphasized that the new authorities of  Armenia established a high level of responsibility in the mining  industry, according to which all mines in the country must meet the  highest environmental standards. In the Republic of Armenia, any  legal entity having the right to exploit subsoil should be aware of  the existence of the 30th article of the Subsoil Code, which allows  termination of the right to use subsoil. Thus, in the event of a user  violating the subsoil, the inspection body has the right to require  the subsoil user to correct the problem within 90 days, otherwise the  company's subsoil use permit may be terminated. "And in this context,  we will monitor not only the proper and timely fulfillment of each of  Lydian's obligations, but also all other mining companies to ensure  compliance with environmental requirements," the Deputy Prime  Minister said.

Nevertheless, as Tigran Avinyan stated, there is no consensus on the  issue of Amulsar. In addition to environmental concerns, there are  investors who are ready to invest about $ 400 million in the  country's economy in accordance with the requirements of the laws of  Armenia. The mine will provide 750 jobs. And if we take into account  the multiplier effect of employment, the number of jobs created will  be up to 4,500 people. Additional investments of $ 130 million are  expected before the opening of the mine. Annual additional revenues  to the state budget will amount to $ 45- $ 50 million. Development of  the field will increase GDP from 1% to 4%, 1% of which will be a  direct impact. Finished products, which will be almost completely  exported, will be about $$ 250 million. As a result, the impact on  export growth is estimated at about 10%.

The Deputy Prime Minister did not excluded the possibility of Lydian  to appeal to international arbitration.  The government, he said,  correctly assessed the potential legal arguments, positions and  opportunities of the state. Regardless of how prepared the state is  for the outcome of the arbitration process, this process is not  completely predictable, and possible major reparations are not  excluded. "We understand that this money is not from the air, but  from taxpayer taxes. Simply put, we must understand that any  potential financial loss is not a repaired road, a kindergarten, a  hospital and, possibly, unused weapons," the Deputy Prime Minister  noted.

But the biggest risk, which cannot be quantified, but is very  important for the Armenian economy in the process of transformation  is a country's investment environment. "If we really want to build an  Armenia in which both domestic and foreign investors are protected,  then we should not have anti-legal grounds for obstructing the  activities of investors", concluded the Deputy Prime Minister.

To recall, on August 14, the Investigative Committee of Armenia  presented an expert opinion on the Amulsar project of the consulting  company Earthlink & Advanced Resources Development (ELARD).  Based on  the conclusion of the examination, the IC of Armenia stated that  there is no direct connection between the underground waters located  on the territory of the Amulsar project and the thermal hot springs  of Jermuk. There is also no connection with the waters of the Sevan  basin. Moreover, as indicated in the IC, during an earthquake, a  certain concentration of acid drainage can penetrate into the basin  of Lake Sevan through the Spandaryan and Ketchut reservoirs. However,  the combination of this concentration will be insignificant on the  scale of Lake Sevan. The third important conclusion: the impact on  the Arpa, Vorotan and Darb rivers can be mitigated if Lydian Armenia  takes 16 environmental mitigation measures proposed by experts.  According to Hayk Grigoryan, the head of the IC, Lydian Armenia  representatives have already expressed their readiness to implement  15 of the proposed 16 events: they are already carrying out 10  events, 5 will be ready to conduct in the near future. Residents of  the resort town of Jermuk, environmentalists and activists opposing  the development of the mine, who went to protests, did not agree with  the conclusions. Lydian Armenia is a subsidiary of 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, the start of the  project involving the construction and development of the deposit  took place.

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