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.