Tuesday, May 19 2020 13:51
Karina Manukyan

Local residents turned to EBRD demanding to withdraw from Amulsar  program

Local residents turned to EBRD demanding to withdraw from Amulsar  program

ArmInfo.23 residents of settlements near the Amulsar field, through an independent IPAM accountability mechanism, appealed to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to withdraw from the Amulsar  project. The statement was joined by the international network CEE  BankWatch, NGO "Ekolur", NGO "Forest of Armenia", NGO "Green Armenia"  and the civic initiative "Armenian Environmental Front".

In a statement, in particular, a call was made for IPAM to initiate  checks on compliance of the Amulsar program with the social and  environmental policy of EBRD. It is indicated that Lydian  International, with the help of the former Government of the Republic  of Armenia and the financial assistance of EBRD, did not apply the  best international standards in assessing the impact of the program,  as well as taking into account the opinions of adjacent communities.  In addition, during the implementation of the program, Lydian  International failed to properly protect the natural resources and  economy of Jermuk, as well as the health of the local population.

In this regard, the authors of the statement urge the EBRD to  withdraw from the Amulsar program, which, they said, will be a  crucial step in meeting the requirements of the social and  environmental policy approved by the bank. Among the requirements are  ensuring environmental and social impact assessments; resource  efficiency and pollution prevention; protecting the health of the  local population; biodiversity conservation and sustainable  management of natural resources; stakeholder engagement and restore  justice for the Jermuk population.

<We are confident that EBRD, being one of the largest financial  development institutions, will take into account our protest, examine  the problems we raised and make a decision in favor of the residents  of Jermuk, "the statement said.  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. With this in mind, since last year, entrances to the field  were blocked by local residents. 

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