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.