Wednesday, March 1 2023 18:52
Alina Hovhannisyan

Minister of Economy: We cannot afford luxury of giving up economic  benefit of Amulsar project

Minister of Economy: We cannot afford luxury of giving up economic  benefit of Amulsar project

ArmInfo.Today, our country is facing such challenges that do not allow us to abandon the fulfillment of our international obligations, including the  abandonment of the high economic benefit from the exploitation of the Amulsar gold mine. RA Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan stated this  in an interview to the Public Television of Armenia.

He noted that during the discussion of the government's medium-term  spending program for 2024-2026, it became clear that for its full  implementation, achievement of the planned economic growth, as well  as tax revenues, it would be necessary to fill the missing 1.3  trillion drams. 

Therefore, each such industrial program as Amulsar will allow the  country to come closer to the full implementation of the planned  economic programs.

At the same time, the minister stressed that in addition to the  economic effect, the program carries a security component in a  certain sense. In this context, the minister noted that a company  with US-Canadian and British investments would operate close to the  border. In addition, he added that thanks to high wages people living  in the border areas will not leave their homes due to security  problems. According to Kerobyan, the ecosystem formed thanks to the  work of "Lydian Armenia" (exploiter of the Amulsar mine), will  maintain economic activity in these regions at a high level.

The minister noted that to restart the project, the Eurasian  Development Bank (EDB) allocated $100 million, $50 million - a local  bank (there is till no information which bank exactly), $70 million -  Capital National, whose shares are listed on the London Stock  Exchange, and $30 million - will attract shareholders of the company.

It should be noted that during the signing of the tripartite  memorandum of understanding between the Government of the Republic of  Armenia, Lydian Armenia CJSC and the Eurasian  Development Bank  (EDB), which  marked the restart of the program for the development  of the Amulsar  mine, the Minister of Economy of Armenia said that  the exploitation of the field will increase Armenia's GDP by 1%.  Within the framework of the memorandum, as Minister of Economy  Vahan  Kerobyan said,  $150 million will be invested, of which $100  million  will be EDB loans, $50 million will be provided by a local bank, and  an additional $100 million will be invested outside the  agreement,  Minister noted disclosing the source of funding. "The  funds will be  used to complete construction work at the mine and  purchase the  necessary equipment," he said.  Since the end of 2018, the Amulsar  gold mine has been blocked by  environmental activists. Construction  work on it had to be suspended.   In March 2022, Minister of Economy  of Armenia Vahan Kerobyan noted  that if nothing interferes, the work  of the Amulsar gold mine will be  resumed, referring to the  department's program of measures, which  contains a provision on  solving the Amulsar problem.  Earlier, before  the change of  beneficiaries, Lydian Armenia was a subsidiary of the  British  offshore Lydian International, which placed shares on the  Toronto  Stock Exchange. Then the company went through the process of   delisting. As a result of the restructuring, the full stake in the   company was transferred to the newly established Lydian Canada   Ventures, owned by the U.S. firm Orion Mine Finance, and the Canadian   company Osisko Gold Royalties.  The total cost of the Amulsar project    is $370 million. The estimated period of operation of the mine is 10   years and 4 months, while it is planned to produce an average of 200  thousand ounces of gold annually.  The field is the second largest in   Armenia.  According to the company, the deposit contains about 73,733   kg of gold with an average grade of 0.78 g per ton, as well as   294,367 tons of silver with an average grade of 9.29 g per ton. It is   located in the south- east of the country, 13 km from the resort town   of Jermuk, in the interfluve of the Arpa and Vorotan rivers. 

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