YEREVAN—Unconfirmed sources claimed Lydian Armenia CJSC is under investigation by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Armenia for intentionally concealing information on pollution. Lydian Armenia controls the rights to the Amulsar gold mine located on the border of the regions of Vayots Dzor and Syunik and within 7-8 miles of the town of Jermuk. The allegation also claims that officials of the Ministry of Environmental Protection were informed about the high risk of the gold mine at the time but intentionally hid the information.
The allegations have not been confirmed by any official sources and Lydian officials have denied connection to any wrongdoing or any criminal investigation.
Lydian is the legal successor of Geoteam CJSC which originally filed an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment on the Amulsar gold mine to the Environmental Impact Assessment Center (EIAC), a State non-commercial organization (SNCO). Based on this report, the EIAC issued a favorable determination and Lydian considers Amulsar to be its “flagship project.” The mine is anticipated to generate 200,000 ounces of gold per year.
Environmental activists have protested the mine on a number of grounds, including questioning the accuracy of the Lydian reports and studies. Of particular concern is the mine’s close proximity to Jermuk and use of cyanide in the extraction of gold. Jermuk is a resort town known for its hot springs and mineral water. The mine is claimed to jeopardize the health of residents and a local economy so dependent on reliably clean water.
Article 282 of the criminal code of Armenia makes punishable the willful distortion or concealing of information about pollution of the environment. In particular, paragraph one states, “Concealing from people information about environmental pollution dangerous for life and health through radioactive, chemical, bacteriological materials, or providing obviously false information about such pollution, by an official, is punished with a fine in the amount of 300 to 500 minimal salaries, or with deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or practice certain activities from 2 to 5 years.”
Editor’s Note: On his July 21, 2018, the Armenian Weekly published article stating criminal investigations were launched against Lydian International. These claims were unsubstantiated and are denied by Lydian International. We have revised the article to correct the claims (by Ecolur and Lragir.am) are unsubstantiated and denied by Lydian International. Our editorial board sincerely apologizes for this journalistic misstep. It has since been rectified and we continue to remain committed to high journalistic standards and providing you with fact-based coverage of events in Armenia and the Diaspora. This is our promise.