ArmInfo.Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources of Armenia refused to discuss the issue on suspending the program of Amulsar gold deposit development. A letter addressed to environmental and non-governmental organizations of the country published on ecolur.org notes that the right of using deposits can be suspended if the Natural Resources Code is violated.
The right to develop Amulsar deposit granted to Lydian Armenia can not be suspended based on conclusions of foreign organizations. According to the Article 51 of the Natural Resources Code the right to develop resources is granted after making relevant positive assessment on absence of environmental impact. In this context the Amulsar deposit development project received a certificate of compliance of cyanide management system with the international Code. Moreover, on February 18, 2018 the official report of the International Institute for Management of Cyanide noted that regardless the results of the independent audit, the Lydian Armenia program is in line with the principles and practice of the Cyanide Code initiative.
''The Amulsar deposit development program can be considered a successful experience with use of up-to- date technologies considering implementation of socially responsible and nature protection programs'', the letter of the Ministry reads. The authors of the letter emphasize that 80% of activities have already been conducted in the deposit. A few million cubic meters of land were excavated, 9 thousand cubic meters of land were covered with concrete, about 20 km of roads have been built. Water management activities, as well as most of the measures to maintain environmental standards have been conducted. Two platforms for leaching are ready, the installation of layers of gypsum board and polymer geomembranes is underway.
To recall, on May 29, a number of Armenian non-governmental organizations addressed an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for the suspension of the development of the Amulsar deposit. In the opinion of the authors of the letter, the development of the deposit may become a new ecological disaster for Armenia. Meanwhile, Lydian Armenia Executive Director Hayk Aloyan made a statement which particularly stated that for the second day about 20 people were blocking the roads leading to the construction site of the Amulsar deposit, thus depriving more than 1,450 employees of the opportunity to conduct legal work, tearing down the country's largest investment program. "This provocation is directed not only against the company, but also the country, as it creates obstacles for the transfer of several hundred thousand dollars a day to the republic." Lydian Armenia "is ready for any checks on environmental standards, social management criteria, financial flows, shareholders, transparency tax revenues and others, "the statement said. On June 6 representatives of the government headed by Minister of Nature Protection Erik Grigoryan visited Amulsar. Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan wrote about this on his Facebook page. "Thus, we announce the beginning of work aimed at fulfilling the task of the Prime Minister." After the minister's visit, the specialized inspection body, in which all interested parties will be included, will begin inspections as soon as possible", he wrote.
To recall, Lydian Armenia is a subsidiary of the British Lydian International, whose shareholders are large international institutional investors from the United States, Great Britain, and a number of European countries, including institutional structures such as IFC and EBRD. The Amulsar project is the largest industrial project in Armenia for the development of a gold ore deposit with a total value of $370 million. In August 2016, a project was launched that assumes the construction and development of the field. Preliminary work has been carried out since 2006. The life of the Amulsar deposit will be 10 years and 4 months, an annual average of 200,000 ounces of gold (about 10 million tons of ore) is planned. Within the framework of the Amulsar program, 1,300 jobs will be created in the construction process (construction works will last about 2 years) and 650-700 jobs throughout the entire operation of the field. The shareholders of the company are also international institutional investors IFC and EBRD. The company's shares are quoted on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Amulsar deposit is the second largest in Armenia.