By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
People in power of Armenia continue to actively lobby projects on the merciless exploitation of the natural resources of Armenia.
Currently, the subject of dispute is the Amulsar gold mine that is located in the vicinity of the city of Jermuk - a resort city in Armenia.
Citizens have gathered in the center of Yerevan to express dissatisfaction with the conclusion of an international expert group published the day before on the website of the Investigative Committee of Armenia. Experts stated that mining at the Amulsar gold mine does not contain unmanageable environmental risks.
However, the Armenian population, especially those who live in the vicinity of this gold mine, as well as the environmentalists do not agree with this conclusion. The protesters were holding posters with the slogans such as “Save the planet!”, “Not a single step backward on the Amulsar issue” and demanded the government not to allow the resumption of operation of the Amulsar mine.
Local environmentalists are seriously concerned that the operation of the mine could lead to pollution of groundwater in Jermuk, and in the future, of Lake Sevan, which could provoke a large-scale environmental disaster with irreversible consequences.
Although the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has publicly stated that it would be better to stop the Amulsar project since there shouldn’t be any mines near the resort of Jermuk, in fact his actions do not go beyond the usual populist slogans.
The work of the Amulsar mine was suspended for more than six months until an expert assessment of the environmental impact of the field’s operation was received. The road to the mine has been blocked for several months by ecologists and local residents. Lydian Armenia, the developer company, demands money compensation, and the authorities have taken a wait-and-see attitude without showing any support for any of the parties to this dispute.
The Amulsar project is the largest industrial project in Armenia for the development of the Amulsar gold ore deposit with a total value of $370 million.
Lydian Armenia is an Armenian geological exploration company founded in 2005, which is a subsidiary of British Lydian International, whose shareholders are large international institutional investors from the U.S., Great Britain, a number of European countries, as well as the EBRD.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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