Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills said that he had seen absolutely no evidence of corruption by Lydian, the investment company running the Amulsar mine.
“I’m not aware that they have violated environmental norms,” the Ambassador said in an interview with EVN Report , adding that what is disturbing is that the company has not even done any mining at the site. “The diplomat also added that there 27 other mines in Armenia and none of them are being shut down.
Mills said that if Armenia decides it doesn’t want mining in the country, that’s their prerogative, but that the mining sector is one of the few resources Armenia has.
Mills said that businesspeople and investors in the U.S. are sophisticated enough and would understand if the Armenian government reevaluated the project if there was evidence of something askew.
“But there’s none of that and there’s a feeling that this is being done somehow without due process and without the rule of law and that’s very concerning,” he explained. “It does create an investment concern and that’s not a threat, it’s not something that I’m going to be pleased to say. But my first responsibility is to U.S. interests and U.S. citizens and investors and if they ask me I’m going to say, well you need to know that this thing has happened to Lydian and you draw your own conclusions, but I fear the conclusion they’ll draw.”
This is particularly concerning, Mills noted, because following the Velvet Revolution there is heightened attention on Armenia and many people are giving it a second look, therefore how this case is handled is particularly important. “I know the Prime Minister is aware of this, I know his team is aware of this, they’re trying to balance interests and that’s a tough part of being a leader but that’s what it means, you inherit a lot of things,” he added.