On June 1, 2021, the construction phase of Amulsar gold-bearing quartzite mine project was completed, as it is stated in the agreement "On Amendment to Agreement on Soil Management for Mineral Extraction No. PV-2645 dated on September 26, 2012" signed on December 30, 2020 between RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure and “Lydian Armenia” CJSC.
Mineral extraction will take 9 years, mine closure - 5.5 years. With this agreement, the construction phase completion of Amulsar project is shifted from December 31, 2020 to June 1, 2021. The term for owning and using the mine is shifted from April 3, 2034 to January 1, 2036.
Amulsar project area
The change in deadlines is most probably conditioned with the closure of roads leading to the mine infrastructure by residents affected by the Amulsar project for two years when the company was unable to carry out the work. Residents opposing mining opened the way when the war was unleashed by Azerbaijan on September 27, 2020. Many of them went to the front to defend their homeland.
Amulsar Guard Post
Mining has not started since June 1 and it is not clear yet whether this mine will be developed or not.
Heap Leach Facility
"Amulsar is a great disaster for our region, Sevan and entire Armenia. The whole world is fighting for clean water, we want to destroy our water resources, Jermuk drinking and mineral water. If we see that they are trying to start work, of course, we will not allow it. The problem here is not environmental, but the question of whether or not Jermuk community exists," Gndevaz resident Mihrdat Nersesyan said.
Being the largest resort town in Armenia, Jermuk community should develop in the direction of resort tourism. “Lydian says we have spent so many millions of dollars, and how many billions of dollars has Jermuk spent in its 80 years of development?” he said and noted that apricot exports from the village have been reduced by 80% when explosions were carried out in HLF and the dust was spread on our apricot orchards.
Local Residents' Orchard
Jermuk Aldermen’s Council member Mkhitar Buniatyan also mentioned, "They have already caused damage by removing the soil layer. The winds are strong in our country, all the dust comes and settles on the town.”
"People arrive here for treatment. How will they get here knowing that a mine is being operated? Are they coming to get treatment or dust? This mine is temporary. What will happen next?” Mkhitar Buniatyan said.
Gorayk Community heaf Ashot Aghajanyan mentioned that it is necessary to have clear "grounded guarantees" for the exclusion of negative impacts on the environment, and only in case of their existence, to reach a decision on permitting Amulsar Project.
The risks of Amulsar project, presented in the report filed by Lebanese Earth link & Advanced Resources Development (ELARD) company within the framework of the criminal case under investigation by RA Investigative Committee's Central Investigation Department, have not been officially denied. The criminal case is not over yet. The issue of Amulsar mining has become a topic of manipulation of the pre-election struggle. Meanwhile, the residents of e affected Jermuk community are determined to develop their community without metal mining, for that reason Jermuk Aldermen’s Council reached a decision on December 18, 2018 to develop Jermuk without mining.
This material has been prepared within “Liability of Non-operating Mining Companies in EITI Process” project impletmened by EcoLur with the USAID support within the frames of “Engaged Citizenry for Responsible Governance” project implemented by Transparency International Anticorruption Center.
This article is made possible by the generous support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
June 24, 2021 at 15:08