Thursday, September 12 2019 12:07
Asya Balayan

Erik Grigoryan: At the moment, the process that involves a new EIA is  on the agenda rather than the operation of Amulsar

Erik Grigoryan: At the moment, the process that involves a new EIA is  on the agenda rather than the operation of Amulsar

ArmInfo.There are certain points in the law according to which the conclusion of the  Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) can be recognized as invalid.  The Minister of Nature Protection Erik Grigoryan said this in an  interview with reporters in parliament, referring to the prospects of  operating the Amulsar mine.  According to him, in case the EIA  conclusion loses force, other actions are indicated, in particular  inspections by the Inspection body.

''If during these inspections violations that can be corrected are  recorded, then these amendments are introduced. And if the matter  concerns changing the project, then a new EIA should be carried out.  And if time was given for amendments, but the flaws were not  corrected, then in this case a new EIA process is already taking  place. And it is carried out by the initiator, and not the state'',  Grigoryan explained.

According to the minister, at this stage there is no question of the  operation of the mine, the agenda includes a process that involves a  new EIA, which is carried out with the help of an examination by the  SNCO or inspection body.

''The inspection body carried out checks, but he did not have as much  information as there is now. This also applies to the conclusion of  ELARD, and all the research and data that we have collected'', he  said.

According to the law, as the head of the department noted, if  violations are revealed, then time is given for their elimination. If  the elimination of these violations involves a change in the project,  then this also means a new EIA. And if time is given to eliminate  violations that cannot be corrected, then the EIA is again recognized  as invalid. There is also a clause regarding amendments to the draft  and not notification of this to the authorized body. This is also the  basis under which an EIA can be considered null and void. The  minister added that the agency has information that the Lydian  company has already made some changes, but there was no information  about this.

''After that, we turned to the Ministry of Emergencies with a  question: are the data provided correct? The Ministry of Emergency  Situations replied no. We have also addressed, for example, the USAID  program in relation to waters. They sent a document stating that this  data is incorrect.  Minister Grigoryan also said that on September 5  he sent a conclusion by the Ministry of the Environment on the ELARD  report, in which he asked the Prime Minister's office for  instructions to conduct new inspections.

According to the conclusion, even the wind speed in Jermuk and at the  foot of the Amulsar mountain is incorrectly presented in the report,  conflicting data on fumes are also presented. According to the  minister, the evaporation rate presented by Lydian contradicts the  indicators published by the Ministry of Emergencies. "The report  notes that there was no data on the volumes of water flowing from the  Kechut reservoir to Lake Sevan, which is also incorrect," Grigoryan  explained.

It is noted that for the assessment of seismic hazard local catalogs  for earthquakes for the instrumental period were not used. Even in  the documents of ''Lydian'' for 2017-2018 it is indicated that they  have revised the figures'', the minister said. According to him, the  investigating authority must conduct checks to determine whether  there was a deliberate change in these figures or not. ''Checks are  required. Only after they are held will it become clear what should  be done next'', Grigoryan concluded.

To note, the work of the Amulsar mine was suspended since February  2019 due to the need to obtain an expert assessment of environmental  impact. Environmentalists and ordinary citizens are concerned that  the operation of the mine could lead to pollution of groundwater in  Jermuk and Lake Sevan, causing an environmental disaster.

Lydian Armenia is a subsidiary of the British offshore Lydian  International. The total cost of the Amulsar project is $ 370  million. The field's life is 10 years and 4 months, with an average  of 200 thousand ounces of gold being mined annually.

Amulsar field is the second largest reserve in Armenia. According to  the company, the deposit contains about 73733 kg of gold with an  average grade of 0.78 g per ton, and 294.367 tons of silver with an  average grade of 9.29 g per ton. It is located in the south-east of  the country, 13 km from the resort town of Jermuk, between the rivers  Arpa and Vorotan. Environmentalists and ordinary citizens are  concerned that the operation of the mine could lead to the pollution  of the mineral underground waters of Jermuk and Lake Sevan.

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