Thursday, 20 September

Jermouk Development Center Co-Prez - "Amulsar gold mine must be shut down"

Environmental activists and local NGOs, backed by a number of sector specialists, continue to raise warnings about the Amulsar gold mine, particularly the negative effects it poses for the nearby resort town of Jermouk, known far and wide for its mineral waters.

Vazgen Galstyan, Co-president of the Jermouk Development Center, points to two such risks that the mine poses.

He says that underground detonations at the mine can upset the hydro-geological balance in the area, thus causing a decrease in the flow of the famous mineral waters and a change to its mineral content.

Galstyan also notes that prevailing winds can blow the dust caused by the explosions to the resort town. He claims that Jermouk was deliberately left off the list of “effected communities” in order to give the green light for mining in the area.

The young activist says that the Environmental Impact Assessment regarding Amulsar was performed in London, in a virtual format, and not on the site itself. Thus, the document contained within, stating that mine detonations will have no impact on Jermouk, is misleading.

He points to the conclusions reached by hydro-geologist Ruben Yadoyan stating that the detonations will definitely impact the mineral waters of Jermouk.

Galstyan argues for the closing of the mine altogether, saying that any changes to the operational program will not make a major difference in terms of decreasing the environmental risks.

He says that a united public effort can only bring a halt to the mine since government agencies have displayed an active disregard to the problem.

The activist calls for pressure to be brought to bear on state agencies, the mining company, and institutions financing the mine.

Galstyan says those opposed to Amulsar are continuing to pressure organizations and banks that provide financing to Geoteam CJSC, the company holding the mining licenses. (Geoteam CJSC is owned entirely by Lydian International Limited, a British company based in Jersey)

Lydian’s largest shareholder is the International Finance Corporation (IFC; part of the World Bank Group). The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is also a major shareholder in the Company. 

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Comments (3)
1. Miner Man18:17 - 8 August, 2013
Who ever this Environmentalist is, he needs to take a step back and cool off. The Amulsar mine brings wealth to the region in significant fashion and it would be an enormous mistake to have it shut down.
2. aram23:18 - 8 August, 2013
Miner man, with all due (?) respect to your opinion, could you substantiate ( list )the number of Drams ($s ,Euros or rubles) that these mines are " bringing wealth"to the locals, the Armenian Teasury let alone the damage to the people who breath and drink and eat in the region? What about the jobs and taxes that the waters of the region and tourists bring to the locals and around the rest of Armeniai including tax revenue to the Armenian Treasury? Chill man!!!!
3. Vahe11:45 - 11 August, 2013
Miner man, I was laughing out loud after reading your post. Mines in Armenia (such as the Kajaran Mine) only pay about 1% in taxes to the Armenian government. For example, Kajaran runs a $600-$750 million operation (revenues) per year and pays only about $8 million in revenues every year. The Teghut Mine contains about $26 Billion USD in ore and is set to pay only $250 million in taxes, when it will cause $24.5 Billion in DAMAGES to the environment (the $24.5 Billion was the amount in taxes that the Teghut Mine SHOULD have paid had corrupt Armenian lawmakers not changed the law in Parliament to waive any toxic waste dumping charges for mines). Coming back to your statement "The Amulsar mine brings wealth to the region in significant fashion". Let's analyze your claim. The only way wealth would be "brought" to the region is (1) by taxes paid to the government, and/or (2) by wages paid to workers. I've already shown above how Teghut (and Amulsar similarly) causes a LIABILITY to the Armenian government, as it produces MORE damage than wealth it creates (it creates $24.5 Billion in damages, but only pays $250 million in taxes!) (2) workers are paid a bare minimum wage -- around $200-$250 per MONTH. So if we have 500 workers at the mine, that's $100,000 per month, or $1,200,000 per year, or $24 million if the mine operates for 20 years. Now, if there is $10 billion of ore at Amulsar, then Lydian International won't be "bringing" wealth to Armenia, but will be taking wealth AWAY from the people of Armenia!! Մարդ ապուշին մէկը պիտի ըլլայ որ ըսածիդ հաւատար, հանքափոր բարեկամ! Ուրիշին վրայ փորձէ քալեցնել!
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