ArmInfo. Lydian International has responded to a decision by the Ministry of the Environment to limit the use of the Darb River waters in the development of the Amulsar gold mine.
According to Lydian International's statement to ArmInfo, on July 4, 2019, the company contacted the Ministry of the Environment with a request for a permit for releases from the Darb River 43.5 liters of water per second. On September 9, the Ministry postponed the issuance of permits, making a number of comments, including the need to review the required volume of 43.5 l / s due to insufficient water levels. On September 26, the company responded in writing, proposing 40 l / s for water use, which was agreed upon during discussions between representatives of the ministry and the company. However, on October 31, Lydian was denied a water permit, signed by the Minister of the Environment on October 25. Meanwhile, as Lydian legal advisers note, according to the legislation of Armenia, if the ministry does not make a decision within 50 business days, the application is considered satisfied and the company can exercise the corresponding right. The legal advisers also explained that the time limit for consideration of the company's application by the Ministry of the Environment exceeded 50 days prescribed by law, and the company may assume that it has permission to release water from the Darb River.
The company plans to appeal to the Administrative Court with a request to oblige the Ministry to provide Lydian with a written permission for water use, to which the company is entitled in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Armenia.
"Unfortunately, Lydian will have to go to court again, expecting the court to prevent an illegal attempt to violate rights the company for the implementation of the Amulsar field development program, "said the acting president and executive director of Lydian Eddie Sellers.
According to him, last month the Administrative Court ruled that a former government official illegally tried to strip the company of its right to implement the Amulsar project. It seems that the current minister is also trying to prevent the company from implementing the Amulsar project through illegal actions. The company also recalls that on August 19, 2019, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan publicly acknowledged that there were no legal grounds on which the Armenian government could deny the right to implement the project, and that it was in the country's interests to allow the implementation of the program. "When will the prime minister's promise to uphold the rule of law be implemented?" Lydian International said in a statement.
Recall that on October 29, Minister of the Environment Eric Grigoryan, expressing his personal opinion as a citizen of Armenia, stated that he opposed the development of ore deposits, including the mine at Amulsar, which is an important spa resort region with no reserves mineral water only. For the long-term development of the country's economy, there are other areas - ecotourism, information technology, efficient use of forests, etc. However, as the Minister, Eric Grigoryan continued, he should be guided by the licenses and permits that have already been issued. At the same time, as the Minister noted, he has some concerns about the correctness of the conclusions submitted by the Ellard expert company on the Amulsar project, which revealed a number of inconsistencies. These discrepancies have already been submitted to the Inspectorate for Subsoil and to law enforcement agencies, and if confirmed, the criteria for assessing the environmental impact can significantly change. The organization responsible for providing accurate information is responsible for it. And if one of the parties, whether it is a state body or Lydian Armenia company, comes out with unverified data, this will have serious consequences for one of the parties. 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 reserves in Armenia. According to the company, the deposit contains about 73733 kg of gold with an average grade of 0.78 g per ton, as well as 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.