On 6 July Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan had a meeting with the protesters fighting against Amulsar gold mining project in Jermuk, environmentalists and the representatives of “Lydian” Armenia Company, which implements the project.
Before the meeting in the hall, Nikol Pashinyan learned the area of Amulsar mine and the environment from the helicopter.
'If we were now in the initial stage of this process, my opinion would be a direct political decision not to have any mine near Jermuk,' the PM said at the beginning of the meeting and continued, ' but de jure we now have a situation, when 80% of the works required for mining have been accomplished. This is a condition we should take into consideration.
Nikol Pashinyan noted two questions must be answered to solve this problem: first, whether Amulsar project will have a negative impact on the water resources, second, whether the project will have a negative impact on the further development of Jermuk Town as a health and tourism center.
Nikol Pashinyan voiced a version, which says the protest demonstrations against Amulsar project have an organized nature, which caused the anger of the demonstrators present at the meeting.
'' As a PM, I was told there is such a hypothesis that the whole meaning of this story with the mining is the aim of some people to create a situation so as to involve Armenia in huge court litigations. I hope we are all sure that we and personally I have no interest in this matter, except for the balanced interest of Armenia,' Pashinyan said.
RA Nature Protection and Soil Inspection Body Head Arthur Grigoryan said that comprehensive inspections will be carried out. Arthur Grigoryan mentioned it is impossible to develop any methodology of inspections as such.
In reply, Lydian Armenia Sustainability Director Armen Stepanyan mentioned that it is important to have such a methodology.
Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan interfered and noted that the Republic of Armenia doesn't have its own studies on the probable impact of the project on the water resources, so a scientific research must be carried out which will take time. The PM asked the residents and the company whether they give that time: the residents agreed, while the company didn't.
Lydian Armenia Company General Manager Hayk Aloyan said that this kind of research will take 3 months, while every day they don't work is a loss of sums for them. Nikol Pashinyan's reaction was strict, 'Now do you want this problem to be solved or not? I was told that you changed your director and hired a person, who is specializing not in mining and sueing countries. Is that true or not?'
João Carrêlo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lydian International, responded to this question, 'I have worked only with responsible companies, I'm a mining engineer and haven't ever taken part in any international arbitration. The international community is following this process, while the inspections can be held in parallel with our works.'
The citizens fighting against Amulsar project didn't agree on this option, so PM Pashinyan left Jermuk without reaching an agreement. The protesters declared they will continue blocking the road leading to Amulsar.
14:37 July 06, 2018