By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Protests against the further exploitation of the hazardous gold mine are ongoing in Armenia.
About 200 protesters have gathered in front of the residence of the president of Armenia at 26 Baghramyan Avenue and demanded to stop the operation of the Amulsar gold mine, which contradicts the results of several environmental assessments conducted by the invited independent companies.
The protesters required the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to call a meeting with environmentalists, members of the Council of Elders and the mayor of the city of Jermuk, where the gold mine is located, as well as school directors and hotel owners, and five activists who oppose the exploitation of the Amulsar gold mine.
Citizens expressed dissatisfaction with the conclusion of an international expert group saying that mining at the Amulsar gold mine does not contain unmanageable environmental risks.
At the meeting in the presidential residence it was decided that there was no need for a new examination of the gold mine.
Although Varazdat Karapetyan, the prime minister’s spokesman, described the discussions as transparent, he did not specify when the final position of the government on Amulsar will be announced.
Therefore, people continued their protests against the exploitation of the gold mine and mass action took place at the same place.
Earlier, Jermuk residents stated that if the government’s decision on the exploitation of the Amulsar gold mine remains positive, they will continue to block the roads leading to the mine.
“If the prime minister rejects Serzh Sargsyan, then he must reject all the negative programs he adopted. This should not be discussed,” one of the protesters said.
The residents of Jermuk believe that the authorities at all costs want to achieve the exploitation of the field, which will cause irreparable damage to the resort town. The protesters assured that they would do everything possible to prevent such a scenario.
The situation shows that Pashinyan is caught between a rock and a hard place. The Amulsar gold mine developer company is demanding compensation. So, on the one hand, the state must make money to improve its financial situation, and on the other hand, if the gold mine is re-launched, this will arouse new and more serious protests.