YEREVAN. – Members of the Armenian Environmental Front (AEF) civil initiative on Friday are holding a mobilization day in capital city Yerevan.
AEF member Arpine Galfayan stated that September 20 to 27 is global mobilization day, and more than 5,000 events, protests, and strikes are taking place throughout the world in order for governments to take practical steps to overcome the climate change crisis.
“If we divide the acute effects of the global crisis into six scales, Armenia is approaching the fifth scale,” she said, “that is, the territory of Armenia, the biodiversity and people living here will bear a very severe impact.”
Also, the AEF member stressed Friday’s action in Jermuk town, and against the operation of the Amulsar gold mine.
“About ten days ago, people in Jermuk town fighting for [keeping] Amulsar [a mountain] announced that they would wait ten days for the government to ban—within the framework of scientific facts and law—the operation of the mine, if that would not happen, they would start [protest] actions in Jermuk—which took place today,” she said. “There have been boycotting of classes in the schools of Jermuk [town], Gndevaz and Kechut [villages], there is also a strike and a march being organized in Yeghegnadzor [town].”
In 2016, the American-British Lydian Armenia company began construction of the Amulsar gold mine, and announced it will invest more than $400 million in this project.
Environmentalists and activists, however, have kept the roads to Amulsar closed for a long time. They oppose Amulsar’s operation, and argue that the exploitation of this gold mine will have a disastrous impact on the environment.
In the current year, the Armenian government petitioned to the ELARD consulting firm of Lebanon for an expert conclusion on Amulsar. The government announced that it will make a final decision on Amulsar’s operation only after receiving this conclusion.
Subsequently, the ELARD expert conclusion stated that the environmental risks will be manageable if proper monitoring is carried out at Amulsar.
But following a recent videoconference with ELARD experts, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan noted that several new circumstances had emerged during this videoconference, and which need to be investigated and assessed.
And he instructed the Ministry of Environment to decide whether the Amulsar gold mine project needs to undergo a new Environmental Impact Assessment.
But recently, Pashinyan stated that, at the moment, they had no legal grounds for banning the operation of the Amulsar mine.