Chair of RA Investigative Committee Hayk Grigoryan received this week "Elard" Company President Ramez Kayal and head of the company's expert group Ricardo Khoury. As per the committee official website, both parties discussed the term and scheduled actions of the comprehensive study into the operation of Amulsar mine meanwhile Mr. Grigoryan has stressed that he is monitoring daily the action plan, also he will stay in touch with the expert team daily to receive updates about the process.
Elard are confident that their company will conduct a thorough study knowing that they understand the importance of this study when they assure that Elard will provide an objective assessment, very transparent and of sure without interference from any side.
ELARD President Ramez Kayal has assured that the company will conduct a thorough study and added: "We understand the importance of this study and I assure that ELARD will provide an objective assessment. I would like to stress that we applied for the tendering for this study with confidence that our work will be conducted without interference from any side."
Previously, Lydian International Company announced that the Republic of Armenia Government has commenced its third-party assessment ("Third Audit") of the Amulsar Gold Project's environmental impact on water resources, geology, biodiversity and water quality.
They added that "In September 2018, an assessment was ordered by the Armenian government to study possible impacts of the Amulsar Gold Project on water resources. The scope of work will now also include a review of the Company's Environmental and Social Impact Assessment ("ESIA") and Environmental Impact Assessment ("EIA"). This is despite the fact that the Company's EIA was previously approved by Armenian authorities in accordance with Armenian law before Lydian began constructing the Amulsar Gold Project. Earth Link and Advanced Resources Development ("ELARD") has been selected by the Armenian government as the consulting firm to perform the assessment, which is expected to last approximately 12 to 16 weeks. In February 2019, the Armenian government allocated USD$ 396,900 to fund the Third Audit and announced earlier today that the Third Audit has commenced".
Joao Carrelo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lydian, stated, "We have cooperated fully with the two previous government ordered audits since inception of the blockades in June 2018 and we will collaborate with ELARD in what we have been told by the government will be the final audit. In the meantime, we continue to engage with the Armenian government to enforce the rule of law in order to provide access to the Amulsar project site and allow Lydian to resume construction and environmental activities concurrently with the Third Audit. Despite all our efforts to date and notwithstanding the current government's intolerance of other illegal blockades in country, Lydian has been prevented from restarting construction activities. The Armenian government's actions and inactions form part of an ongoing campaign targeting Lydian's investments in Armenia. No other company in Armenia has been subjected to three audits since June 2018 and been unable to continue its operations."
The Company does not accept the need or legal basis for the Third Audit, since the Armenian government already confirmed that the Amulsar Gold Project complied with Armenian environmental requirements when it approved the EIA, and that Lydian relied on this approval when investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Armenia.
On February 2019, The Armenian government decided to allocate USD 396,900 from the reserve fund to the Investigative Committee for providing this sum to Earth Link & Advanced Resources Development (ELARD), the press office of the Investigation Committee reports. The financial resources will be used for carrying out a comprehensive expert examination for developing the Amulsar Gold Mine. The expert examination is to be carried out as part of a criminal case as well as examination of related reports.
An environmental, geological, geological and physical, material engineering, soil, chemical, technological, contracture and economic comprehensive examination has been ordered as part of the criminal case.
For now, the conflict is raging between the company and the state but before 'Lydian Armenia' CJSC applied to international Arbitration Court, the findings of the international expert assessment of Amulsar gold mining project will be available, as Armenian Deputy PM Tigran Avinyan told the journalists on 27 March when he insists that the government will be more convinced with any decision after the expert report and things will be very clear and transparent before any final judgment.
Today and during a parliamentary session assessing the government's performance in 2018, the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan made a statement assuring that Armenia has allocated $300,000 to hire a team of international experts to assess the environmental risks if the Amulsar gold mine project is allowed to proceed as planned and that the positioning of his government on Amulsar is clear when it will be based on the results issued by the international team of experts and added finally that Armenia does not have anything to fear.