ArmInfo. Environmentalists, activists and residents of the resort town of Jermuk made a statement in connection with the call of the Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, to unblock the roads leading to the Amulsar field.
Thus, as stated in the statement of the Amulsar initiative group, the call of the head of government was a complete surprise to them, especially after the international consulting company Earthlink & Advanced Resources Development (ELARD), chosen by the state, publicly announced that the documents provided by Lydian are inferior and unprofessional. "To exploit the mine in conditions where the entire population of the resort town (the Amulsar gold mine is just 10 kilometers far from Jermuk -ed. note) opposes the operation of the metal mine. Our response to the call is short and clear: the paths to Amulsar will not be open, on the contrary the blockade will be strengthened.
We will not allow the mine to be exploited; Amulsar will remain a mountain. We will fight to the end, "the statement authors note. The members of the initiative group also called on people concerned about the issue to consolidate and protect the interests of Jermuk residents.
Residents of Jermuk, who had gathered for an open discussion the night before, said they would negotiate exclusively around the closure of the mine. "We do not understand the position of the prime minister, who agreed to open the mine solely on the" honest word "of Lydian for its 100% safe operation," they said. According to ecologist Shirak Buniatyan, the problem has long gone beyond the Jermuk community, and there are many opponents of the operation of the Amulsar field in the country. The meeting participants unanimously declared that they did not intend to open the road. The struggle for the interests of city residents, as noted by those present, will be peaceful non-violent in nature - strikes, skipping classes, blocking roads to Amulsar. As a result, it was decided to give the government 10 days, until September 20, and only then take retaliatory steps. The Armenian Environmental Front also opposed the unblocking of roads to Amulsar and reaffirmed its willingness to support compatriots in the struggle to ensure that the Amulsar mine was not exploited. Environmentalists, activists and residents of the resort town of Jermuk decided to organize a "March in the Name of Amulsar. Not a Step Back", which starts on September 11 at 6:30pm on 19 Baghramyan (National Assembly Park of Armenia). To recall, the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan on September 9 live on Facebook said that at the moment there is no legal basis to prohibit the operation of the Amulsar mine. Nikol Pashinyan also formally asked Jermuk residents to unblock all roads leading to the Amulsar mine. As Pashinyan assured, the Lydian leadership committed themselves to 100% safe operation. In addition, he said that he ordered the inspection body to study the project in detail. He also ordered to transfer the criminal case in the Investigative Committee (under Article concealment or intentional misrepresentation of information on environmental pollution), previously entrusted to Yura Ivanyan, a relative of the former Minister of Nature Protection Aramais Grigoryan, who had approved the Amulsar environmental impact assessment, to the deputy head of the Investigative Committee Arsen Ayvazyan. "A new investigation team will be formed, which will consider the facts, give answers to questions in the framework of the criminal case," Pashinyan said. According to him, representatives of Lydian International plan to resume construction work no earlier than April-May 2020, and the operation of the mine itself - by the 4th quarter of 2020 or from January 2021. To note, despite the assurances of Lydian that about $ 400 million have already been invested in the project, and another $ 450-500 million will go to the state treasury within 10 years of operating the field, local ecologists do not share the government's enthusiasm about the attractiveness of mine exploitation plan. The Amulsar mine is located in the valley of the Arpa and Vorotan rivers, in the immediate vicinity of the spa town of Jermuk, famous for its mineral springs, and not far from the largest freshwater lake in the region, Sevan. Environmentalists fear that the exploitation of the field, during which sodium cyanide will be used, could lead to the oxidation of water in rivers. Contaminated waters will become unsuitable for drinking and irrigation and may cause irreparable harm to the mineral springs of Jermuk and the ecosystem of Sevan.