Tuesday, September 10 2019 11:30
Naira Badalian

Jermuk residents in response to Prime Minister`s call to unblock  roads leading to Amulsar: We will negotiate exclusively around the  closure of the mine

Jermuk residents in response to Prime Minister`s call to unblock  roads leading to Amulsar: We will negotiate exclusively around the  closure of the mine

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.

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