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YEREVAN. – If there are insufficient grounds to discontinue the operation of the mine, then the mine should definitely be operated. Babken Tunyan, a member of the majority My Step faction in the National Assembly of Armenia, on Monday told this to reporters, and regarding the matter of whether the Amulsar gold mine should resume operations.

“A study is such a thing that can give rise to various interpretations,” he said, in particular. “That is, it’s very normal for the views to be divided on that matter.”

The MP noted that he is not completely familiarized with the results of the comprehensive audit report related to the exploitation of the mine.

“I’ve looked at part of the recommendations of the conclusion—that is, in the event of application of 16 mitigation measures, the [environmental] risks become manageable; and if the company is ready to take those steps, it means no problem will arise there,” Tunyan added. “And if we don’t allow Amulsar to be exploited in such a situation, by that logic it means we have to revoke the licenses of all the mines in Armenia.”

In his words, this study shows whether the Armenian government has grounds to shut the Amulsar mine.

“That is, those people who are now protesting in front of the mine, in fact, are not allowing that company to work, which is a violation of the company’s interests,” the lawmaker added.

As per the MP, if the operation of the Amulsar mine is stopped, this will have negative consequences for Armenia and a bad signal for potential investors in the country.

Babken Tunyan concluded that at the moment, for him the economic risks are greater and more visible than the environmental risks in connection with the operation of this mine.

As reported earlier, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Monday met with Jermuk town residents and environmentalists, to discuss the matter of whether the Amulsar gold mine should resume operations.  Subsequently, Pashinyan met with members of the majority My Step faction in parliament, and regarding the same matter.

The Investigative Committee of Armenia has publicized the results of the comprehensive audit report which was commissioned to the Advanced Resources Development (ELARD) Lebanese consultancy firm, and regarding any likelihood of environmental risks from the exploitation of the Amulsar gold-bearing quartzite mine of Armenia.

And as a result of this audit report, 16 points were noted in its conclusion, and which, if maintained, would make this mine’s environmental risks manageable.

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