By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The situation around the Amulsar gold mine is becoming one big headache for the Armenian authorities. The American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia (AmCham) has written a letter to the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in connection with the situation around the gold mine.
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. The Amulsar mine is located in the town of Jermuk. Lydian Armenia, a subsidiary of Lydian International, has been exploring the field since 2007 and received a production permit back in 2015, but due to additional environmental requirements, it was not allowed to start production.
AmCham’s letter notes that the Chamber wonders why the program implemented by Lydian Armenia is by now the only one in this industry that has been imposed with three audits, and the road leading to the program’s territory continues to be illegally blocked for more than a year. Moreover, the need for another environmental impact assessment is being discussed.
The letter also says that if the campaign against Lydian Armenia was organized and funded by interested parties pursuing specific business goals, this gives rise to serious concern.
AmCham warned that the situation around Amulsar gold mine directs unambiguously negative impulses to potential investors and makes Armenia a country unattractive for investments.
The Armenian PM is to blame for the fact that the problem has taken the critical character. Initially, he supported the blockade of the mine. However, he then announced an audit due to the threat of a major international lawsuit. Having received a positive assessment from experts, Pashinyan was relieved to talk about permission to launch the development of the Amulsar mine, however, he faced with a wave of protests, and today he insists on a new examination.
In addition, Pashinyan made a mistake recently saying that some interested parties organized a campaign against Lydian Armenia. The Armenian PM actually admitted the illegality of blocking the gold mine, opening the way for various interpretations of his words, and this statement was perceived as a reproach of Russia.
If Pashinyan hopes that the problem somehow resolves by itself, then he is mistaken. The crisis around Amulsar gold mine will sooner or later reach its bitter logical end.
Thus, through AmCham, the U.S. made a warning to Yerevan. Next time it could be much more serious.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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