Friday, June 3 2016 17:43
Naira Badalian

Geoteam CJSC published amended Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

Geoteam CJSC published amended Environmental and Social Impact  Assessment

ArmInfo.  As of today we have a project which received positive expert opinion from the Armenia's Ministry of Nature Protection and we are ready to launch construction activities", Senior Manager on Sustainable Development at Geoteam CJSC Armen Stepanyan told journalists during the presentation of the International Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the Amulsar program, which knows no equals on the territory of Armenia. 

 
Lydian International, the only shareholder of Geoteam Armenian CJSC, licensed to develop Amulsar deposit published amended EISA on May 17. International independent expert companies Wardell Armstrong International, Golder Associates, TEC, ERM, Sharde Resoursec, Shape Consulting as well as a number of Armenian scientific institutes and 
organizations worked on the document. The report adheres to the requirements of the International Finance Corporation and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. 
 
According to the Senior Manager on Sustainable Development, the report was first publically disclosed in May 2015. Within one year the document has been revised and amended based on additional research and along with engineering changes of the project. At the same time according to him the document is a result of consistent comprehensive work with the public aimed to response to opinions, assessments and issues, which are subject of concern for the people. In this context discussions with the representatives of the communities in Jermuk city bordering to Amulsar were held on May 31, while discussions with the experts on the presented report were organized on June 2.  Stepanyan assured that consultations and 
opinions will be taken into consideration in the final version of the report. The representatives of the company urged all the stakeholders to get familiar with the text of the document and in case of necessity to make proposals and recommendations.  
 
Regional Director of Wardell Armstrong Internaitonal David Brignall noted that one of the advantages of the Amulsar project is that compared to other deposits in the region and in the world it is a new one and therefore all the world tendencies on reduction of ecological 
impact will be considered prior to the launch of the project. Brignall noted that the main goal on the current stage is to reveal possible risks for their further efficient management. 
 
Georgi Faivush, Head of Geobotanical Department of Institute of Botanics of Armenia's National Academy of Science stressed that the report is a unique one in its kind and is global by the scale of conducted research. "In terms of environmental protection the authors 
tried to maintain and to reduce the damage to the plants population as much as possible while in terms of scientific research the possibility of not only maintaining but also increasing some kinds of plants was studied", he informed. 
 
Touching upon the construction activities Stepanyan informed that certain work is already being conducted, however the main part of constructional activities will launch in summer. "According to the company's' assessments taking into account the world prices on 
precious stones, during the exploitation of the deposit 480 mln USD will be paid to the state budget" Stepanayn said. 
 
To note, Lydian International Limited is the sole shareholder of Geoteam CJSC.  The latter was incorporated in 2005 and after an extensive campaign of geological exploration in Armenia discovered what is now its flagship project - the Amulsar mountain. Since 2006, the investment in exploration and other operations in Amulsar has amounted to nearly 80 million USD. Amulsar is a new gold discovery, the first for over 20 years in Armenia. Geoteam CJSC is carrying out geological exploration in the Amulsar area of RA Vayots Dzor Marz, 
under a Prospecting License, granted in 2006 by RA Ministry of Nature Protection. The key shareholders of the Lydian are IFC, EBRD and Newmont Mining Corporation.  The feasibility study demonstrates  Amulsar as a compelling opportunity for a large scale, low cost 
operation utilizing open pit mining and conventional heap leach processing.  Highlights include:  total recoverable gold of 2.1 million ounces over a 10.4 year mine life; gold production averaging over 200,000 ounces per year; initial capital costs of $426 million; low all-in sustaining costs of $585 per ounce of gold; 87% gold recoveries and 2.8:1 strip ratio; accelerated after tax-cash flows to support early payback and project financing. The Amulsar project envisages creation of 1,300 jobs in the course of construction and 650-700 jobs throughout the entire operation of the mine within the next 10 years.  
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