ArmInfo.On August 19, a Ground-breaking ceremony for Lydian Armenia's Amulsar project took place in the future area of the heap leach facility, at Vayots Dzor Marz of Armenia, according to the press-service of Lydian Armenia company, which develops the deposit. The ceremony was attended by the Prime Minister of Armenia Mr. Hovik Abrahamyan, Minister of Energy
and Natural Resources Levon Yolyan, Minister of Economy Artsvik Minasyan, heads of communities of Jermuk, Gndevaz, Saravan and Gorayk.
Lydian board of directors, several shareholders, representatives of EBRD and IFC, heads of Yerevan offices of the World Bank Mrs. Laura Bailey and IMF Mrs. Teresa Daban Sanchez also attended the ceremony. Ambassador ofthe USA in Armenia Mr. Richard Mills and Ambassador of the UK in Armenia Mrs. Judith Farnworth were also present at this milestone event.
Lydian President and CEO Mr. Howard Stevenson welcomed all guests to this new and exciting phase of Amulsar project. He conveyed his gratitude to the Government of Armenia, the communities, and heads of diplomatic missions for trust and continuous support. "We know what motivates you is the desire to see a different, better mining operation in Armenia. I want to assure we will do our best to show that there is a different way of doing business, that mining can be responsible, that mining can be safe and that it can benefit the people around the mine. We are here to make it happen during the next 12 years together with all of you", he said.
In his speech Prime Minister of Armenia Mr. Hovik Abrahamyan noted: "From day one we have greatly supported Amulsar project and we are sure it will be successfully implemented. We have come a long way, we had objective and subjective difficulties but importantly this groundbreaking is taking place today for which I am very glad as the head of the Government.With the decline in foreign investments the launch of such a large scale project is essential. Iespecially want to welcome the participation of IFIs, particularly IFC and EBRD in the project. I am confident that Amulsar project will create new opportunities for the economic development of Armenia."
On the occasion of the start of construction of Amulsar project Ambassador of the United States in Armenia Mr. Richard Mills conveyed a message stressing that implementation of the project will strengthen Armenia's economy.
In her message Ambassador of the UK to Armenia Mrs. Judith Farnworth noted: ""This is a groundbreaking event not just for Lydian but also for Armenia. I congratulate Lydian and their many Armenian partners for their years of hard work to reach this momentous day. I think one of the keys to this success is the dialogue which Lydian has conducted: with the Armenian government, local authorities, civil society and perhaps most crucially with the local communities. Through this engagement Lydian has provided assurances that it is committed to responsible mining, bringing economic and social benefits to Armenia whilst respecting the importance of environmental protection".
As of today Amulsar project is going to be the largest investment project in Armenia, planning to invest 370 million USD into the project construction (2016-2018). At peak construction up to 1300 jobs will be secured, while during 10 years of production up to 700 people will be employed directly by Lydian Armenia.
It was earlier reported that the Board of Directors of the Lydian International Limited Company approved the terms of a proposed non-brokered private placement (the "Private Placement") of ordinary shares of the Company to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the "EBRD") on July 21. Under the terms of the proposed Private Placement, the EBRD will subscribe for an aggregate of 33,500,000 ordinary shares of the Company at a price of C$0.34 per share, for aggregate gross proceeds of C$11,390,000. The funds will be used to finance the Environmental and Social Mitigation Measures (ESMM) undertaken as part of the Amulsar Gold Project in Armenia. Currently, the EBRD holds 12,038,780 ordinary shares of the Company,representing approximately 1.8% of the currently issued and outstanding ordinary shares of the Company. Upon completion of the proposed Private Placement, the EBRD will hold 45,538,780 ordinary shares of the Company, representing approximately 6.5% of the then issued and outstanding ordinary shares of the Company. "We are pleased to have the ERBD's continuing support as we begin development of the Amulsar Gold Project. This investment provides further recognition of Lydian's commitment to good international industry practices and standards as we make the transition from developer to producer," said Howard Stevenson, President and CEO of Lydian International. The Company proposes to use the net proceeds of the Private Placement for the financing of environmental and social mitigation measures and related activities in connection with development of the Company's 100%-owned Amulsar Gold Project. The bank and a group of independent financial consultants will closely control the project implementation. Earlier, at the request of ArmInfo, Geoteam Managing Director Hayk Aloyan commented on the prospects and opportunities for the Amulsar Project with the additional equity participation perspectives of EBRD earmarked to support ESMM. "Geoteam and Lydian are committed to best international practice in Environmental and Social Management of our Amulsar project.
The recent disclosure of the amended Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and a through consultation process with a multitude of stakeholders is yet another step towards ensuring that Amulsar becomes a world-class well managed mining operation. It is both our institutional shareholders', including IFC and EBRD, and our company management commitment to see this mine advance in line with industry best practice. Today mining industry worldwide has come up with modern and applicable technological measures to ensure safe and sound operations and my firm belief is that Armenia too can have a modern and safe mining industry. Amulsar will be an important step towards that goal. It is also important to mention that while the industry worldwide is experiencing economic down-cycle, Lydian has secured most of the investment needed to build the project that will benefit the shareholders and bring economic opportunities to Armenia," Hayk Aloyan said. To recall, the EBRD has been an important strategic investor for Lydian since 2009. Including its initial investment, the EBRD has supported Lydian through four previous
private placements. Representatives of the EBRD work continually with Lydian to develop and implement good international industry practices, including compliance with the framework embodied in the EBRD Performance Requirements. The EBRD's Armenian and regional presence is also an important resource that consistently provides support for Lydian's exploration and development programs.