8 members out of 11 members of Jermuk Town Aldermen's Council in Vayots Dzor Region have presented their positions on Amulsar gold mining project directed to Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan.
'Taking into consideration that Jermuk Town hasn't been initially involved in Amulsar mining project as an impacted community since 2009, no public hearings have been held in the town thus violating Jermuk residents' right of participation in decision-making process.
Making a reference to the final report by IFC CAO on the investigation of the complaints lodged by impacted communities that 'The potential impacts on Jermuk brand and Jermuk, as a touristic town, haven't been assessed and mitigated in line with the requirements of Performance Standard № 1' in the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of Amulsar gold mining project, as well as the social impacts on Gndevaz Community haven't been assessed thoroughly.'
Lydian Company has received its permissions with numerous violations of the environmental legislation, many of which are currently being disputed in court. Nevertheless, we can't wait forever, as the court litigation has been lasting over 3 years, while the construction works of the mining project are in progress at full swing.
In the process of issuing permits to Amulsar mining project the provisions of the international conventions ratified by Armenia have also been violated, and currently, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has a case opened on Amulsar.
International and anti-corruption organizations have also covered the violations underlying Amulsar mining and interrelated corruption risks: https://transparency.am/…/publicati…/1512041692-0-785589.pdf
Three international prestigious expert companies have issued their negative opinions on the ESIA of Lydian Company pointing out most serious violations in acidic drainage and water pollution management matters. It's a newly-emerged circumstance, in case of which the permit of Amulsar mining must be annulled.
Lydian hasn't started the mining yet, but it caused essential damage to the communities. Despite their substantiations that the dust will spread only in a diameter of 1 km, Jermuk Town located at a distance of 8-10 km is completely lost in the dust.
Lydian has damaged the drinking water pipelines for the third time thus depriving Kechout and Gndevaz communities of their drinking water springs. The water pipes are filled with silt. We can record that:
1. Amulsar mining contradicts Jermuk Town development perspectives and has already led to the drastic reduction in tourism, while this economic damage hasn't been assessed in any way.
2. The company or the state doesn't bear any responsibility for the damage of agricultural enterprises owned by Jermuk residents and located in Jermuk. This damage hasn't been assessed in Amulsar mining project and hasn't been discussed publicly with Jermuk residents.
So, we are demanding from the Armenian Government,
1. to take urgent and adequate measures to annul Amulsar mining,
2. to take measures to assess and compensate damage incurred by Jermuk residents and business entities with the construction of the mining,' the statement signed by Jermuk Aldermen's Council members says.
Photo: Tehmine Enoqyan
19:15 May 23, 2018