At the Cabinet meeting held on 15 August, the Premier advised that the day before yesterday the Government received Elard international expert group’s findings on Amulsar Mine, which will come under close examination in the near future.
Presenting Elard’s findings, Investigation Committee Chairman Hayk Grigoryan noted that the following three most important points could be singled out after a preliminary analysis:
1. There is no connection between Amulsar groundwater and the thermal springs in Jermuk.
2. There is no connection between Amulsar groundwater and the Sevan Lake basin. However, in the event of an earthquake, some concentration of acidic drainage could penetrate the Sevan Lake basin through the Spandarian-Kechut Reservoir, but the combination of this concentration in the overall volume of Sevan Lake basin will be insignificant.
3. There is some probability of Amulsar groundwater’s eventual impact on the Darb, Vorotan, Arpa Rivers, though the risks will be manageable if Lydian CJSC undertakes 16 mitigation measures as proposed by the Expert Group.
Before that, on 14 August, head of the investigative group for intentional concealment by officials for exploitation of the Amulsar gold mine Yura Ivanyan presented the findings in the opinion, which didn’t reflect the risks and hazards laid down in the opinion by ELARD.
In this regard, Director of "Forests of Armenia" NGO, Environmental Lawyer Nazeli Vardanyan told EcoLur: “The investigator got beyond his jurisdiction. He had no right to assess whether there was any influence on Sevan or Jermuk within the criminal case. He is not an expert on it. In addition, without terminating the case, he stated that there were no grounds for prosecution, which was also beyond his powers. This means that the investigator should be deprived of his job earliest possible because the biased approach is already in place. ”
At the same time, the lawyer noted that ELARD's conclusion could not serve as a basis for the government to make a decision: “This expertise has been assigned to a specific criminal case, where limited questions have been raised and it relates to the past. That is to say, there are no questions that have just appeared and could not be. The assessment made in the context of that narrow criminal case is not an expert examination; no new sampling, analysis, or study has been done by ELARD. The document states that they have taken into account the EIA presented by Lydian Armenia and the environmental and social report. No new examination was carried out, only those documents were evaluated. It is an assumption made. Neither the ELARD forensic examiner nor the Ministry of Nature Protection expert body has been able to make a correct assessment. The right solution is to listen to the will of the people because the residents of Jermuk have the right to decide where they live,” Nazeli Vardanyan said.
14:41 August 16, 2019