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There is no developed country in the world where there has been no mine. The Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, on Monday stated this during his meeting at the Silicon Valley with Armenians working there, and in connection with one of these Armenians’ remark that Armenia is exactly the size of Silicon Valley, and therefore the country does not need mines.

He added that if we look at the matter in this way, any manifestation of civilization is anti-environmental. “This building is anti-ecological because there were happy times that trees were here, sheep were grazing,” he explained, in particular.

Pashinyan stated, however, that he does not like mining at all.

“If that mine can be operated within the framework of the obligations declared by the operating company—that is, 100% safe, then it will be operated,” Pashinyan said with respect to whether the Amulsar gold mine of Armenia should be operated. “If not, it won’t be operated.”

He noted that the Nairit synthetic rubber plant and the nuclear power plant of Armenia had been shut down based on the same arguments that have been brought against the operation of the Amulsar mine.

“As a result, all of our [Armenia’s] scientific potential faced collapse,” Nikol Pashinyan added. “We now have gone into the world, seeking an investor in our science.”

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.

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