Lydian International Limited announced on Tuesday 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.
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.
João Carrêlo, 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.