Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today held a consultation over the situation in regard to the Amulsar gold mine, as reported the Department of Information and Public Relations of the Staff of the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan particularly stated the following:
“Hello, dear colleagues. I am glad to see you. Today we have gathered to discuss the situation in regard to the Amulsar gold mine. There won’t be any speeches because I have read all the reports and interviews. I’ll be addressing and raising questions, and those who have the answers to those questions, may answer them.
Let’s start from the beginning, Mr. Grigoryan. The criminal case was instituted on July 20. I want to know what served as an occasion to institute a criminal case. I remember I had sent you a letter. Did this letter serve as an occasion to institute the criminal case, or had the criminal case been instituted before that?”
Chairman of the Investigative Committee Hayk Grigoryan stated the following in response:
“The occasion for instituting the criminal case was, in essence, the letter of the former deputy police chief which we viewed as a report, even though the deputy police chief said it wasn’t a report. We substantiated this, but didn’t inform the deputy police chief. Before we begin, Mr. Prime Minister, we have identified for you the shortcomings, the responses of ELARD and Lydian Armenia and our analysis. I believe it will be useful for you. Allow me to present them.”
Nikol Pashinyan responded: “I also read the comments, but to specify once again, I want to know if the Investigative Group gathered all the existing information from open sources.”
Chairman of the Investigative Committee Hayk Grigoryan stated: “Mr. Prime Minister, after the criminal case was instituted, the leading field-related specialists were engaged as experts, after which the expert examination was assigned to a state non-commercial organization. When discussions became heated, we assigned international experts to conduct the expert examination.”
The Prime Minister asked if there were people who had provided information about this, to which Hayk Grigoryan said there were and that they were interviewed as witnesses.
Nikol Pashinyan asked to touch upon the stage of the competition when ELARD was selected to conduct the expert examination.
In response, Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan stated the following: “When the issue on expert examination was becoming a current topic, the Ministry of Environment asked various international organizations which of them could conduct an expert examination, and it particularly asked the National Resource Government Institute (NRGI).”
Armenian News-NEWS.am presents the shorthand of the other section of the consultation provided by the Staff of the Prime Minister, without editing:
Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures Lilia Shushanyan told the Prime Minister about the National Resource Government Institute, stating that it serves as a representative of the civil society sector within the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Afterwards, Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan reported that the Ministry of Environment took the advice of the NRGI and directly contacted ELARD, which is considered the expert in this field in the region.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan asked for clarification about the NRGI, to which Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan said he assumes that the NRGI is a non-governmental, civil society organization that is at the highest level within the board of the EITI.
After clarifying, the Prime Minister asked about the tender and stated that there is a discrepancy in terms of the companies that participated in the tender since one of them is a Bulgarian company and the other is a Canadian company. Head of the investigative group for the case over operation of the Amulsar gold mine Yura Ivanyan said the British WSP participated in the tender, and the chairman of the Investigative Committee said preference was given to ELARD since the British company hadn’t conducted the expert examination of the Teghut tailing dump effectively.
The Prime Minister asked about the TRC company, to which Yura Ivanyan gave an explanation about the TRC. The Prime Minister asked if TRC also participated in the tender along with ELARD. Yura Ivanyan said there were certain documents that were part of the terms of reference in order to understand whether the companies to be invited by ELARD to take part in the expert examination have any link to Lydian in any way.
When the Prime Minister asked if the parts had been fully verified, Yura Ivanyan said the TRC hasn’t conducted any operation in Armenia and hasn’t had any contact with Lydian or research companies.
The Prime Minister asked about the cases of undergoing an Environmental Impact Assessment. Sona Tevanyan, assistant to Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, stated all the cases, and the Prime Minister discussed all the cases and their connection to the criminal case in regard to the operation of the Amulsar gold mine in detail.