Amulsar gold mining project is a political project: Inga Zarafyan, President of “EcoLur” Informational NGO, stated on 24 August at the press conference held at EcoLur Press Club.
Reminder: on 19 August 2016 the launch of the construction works on Amulsar gold mining project was marked with huge arrogance. The ceremony was attended by the Armenian top officials, the Prime Minister of Armenia Mr. Hovik Abrahamyan, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Levon Yolyan, Minister of Economy Artsvik Minasyan, heads of communities of Jermuk, Gndevaz, Saravan and Gorayk. Lydian board of directors, several shareholders, representatives of EBRD and IFC, heads of Yerevan offices of the World Bank Mrs. Laura Bailey and IMF Mrs. Teresa Daban Sanchez also attended the ceremony. Ambassador of the USA in Armenia Mr. Richard Mills and Ambassador of the UK in Armenia Mrs. Judith Farnworth also attended this event.
“Amulsar project is a political decision, which has no substantiation, as it’s done based on certain arrangements and we can clearly see who these major political players are – the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Bank (EBRD), which are the shareholders of “Lydian International” Company. It’s definitely ex prime minister Armen Sargsyan, who is now the ambassador to Great Britain and played a major role as an advocate of Amulsar project. Many people can remember when Prince Charles visited here on his invitation and wanted to go to Amulsar. But protests of demonstration were held and he didn’t go there. Now we have what we have. If it’s a political decision, and we shall look at the development of this project as a development of a political project,” - Inga Zarafyan said.
She outlined that in making a decision on Amulsar project all the negative opinions were not taken into consideration, which had been submitted both by independent experts and international organizations, and the governmental bodies of Armenia.
“WWF Armenia as represented by its Director Karen Manvelyan gave its negative assessment, CEE BankWatch network and the Association of Armenian Architects in the US. There are also governmental bodies, which had issued negative opinions. One of them is the opinion of Lake Sevan Preservation Expert Committee issued in 2012 – the assessment of geological and seismic risks, which says its negative opinion is not subject to changes. But we could see how they changes their opinion after tow ears and didn’t provide us even the substantiation,” Inga Zarafyan said, “Still three years ago Jermuk Mayor and Aldermen’s Council applied to PM requesting not to allow Amulsar project, as it would mean the end of Jermuk.”
Levon Galstyan, coordinator of Pan-Armenian Environmental Front, listed the decisions adopted by the Armenian Government, which have promoted the implementation of Amulsar project.
“Since 2011 very interesting process began connected with Amulsar. When they (note by EcoLur: Lydian International Company) experienced problems with fundraising, they needed investors. As the project was not profitable at that moment, costs were rather high – about 700 USD for one ounce of gold, the international investors didn’t want to make investments into the project. At that time the Armenian Government made a decision, which referred to the technical standards of open pit mining. The amendment related to the standards of truck roads, and as a result of this amendment the costs of Amulsar project were reduced by 86 million USD. Their total expenses are around 400 million USD that is this governmental resolution reduced their expenses by around 20%. Then another decision was adopted, which permitted red-listed plant species to transfer to another place, which is again a violation of law. (note by EcoLur: red-listed Potentilla porphyrantha has been detected in Amulsar mine area, which the company has transferred to Sevan Botanical Garden due to this governmental decision).”
The third decision made an amendment to the scheme of Lake Sevan drainage basin. With this resolution the distance of Vorotan-Arpa tunnel from Spandaryan reservoir to Kechout reservoir was changed in a way so that the heap leach plant is located outside Lake Sevan drainage basin,” Levon Galstyan said.
He outlined that Amulsar is not a newly detected mine, as Lydian International Company states. Still in 1961-1963 it was Kaqavasar mine examined by the Soviet geologists. “Amulsar mine is a myth, which was needed for international organizations to consider it as a new mine in the history of Armenia and to start making investments in the mine,” Levon Galstyan said, “It’s still a big question whether they will be able to mine these 50-60 tons of gold or whether or not this gold exists. Those investors, in my opinion, will have serious problems both with the Armenian people and their investors…I’m calling especially Jermuk Town and Gndevaz Village residents not to be indifferent and oppose to this project by initiating more drastic and decisive measures.”
To be continued…
18:11 August 25, 2016