During the consultation I’ve asked six times, I’ve said, “If it turns out that the grass—which the sheep we raise eat—the [amount of] dust sitting on the grass is more than the internationally accepted standards, can we resolve that matter?” The Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, on Friday noted this while speaking with the residents of an apartment in Jermuk town, and with respect to whether the Amulsar gold mine near Jermuk should operate.

“They tell us ‘yes,’” he added. “In that case, we record that fact, we give the company [operating the mine] 90 days. And if it doesn’t resolve the matter, we shut down the mine on fully lawful grounds.”

Pashinyan added, however, that today this matter has become less rational and a bit more emotional. In this regard, he stressed that this question should be answered: If the mine does not harm the environment, why should it not operate?

To the Jermuk resident’s remark that environmentalists say the Amulsar mine clearly harms the nature, the PM responded that they had ordered an expertise study from the Advanced Resources Development (ELARD) Lebanese consultancy firm, and the latter concluded that the operation of this mine poses no threat to the waters of Lake Sevan, and it poses no threat whatsoever to the mineral waters of Jermuk because these waters are at a higher elevation than the mine, whereas “water does not go backwards.”

“Third, if the mitigation measures are applied, the [environmental] risks associated with the Vorotan and Arpa rivers will be manageable,” Nikol Pashinyan added.