March 20, 2019 - 10:14 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Lydian International Ltd said the Armenian government had kicked off its third party assessment of the Amulsar gold project’s impact on water resources, geology, biodiversity and water quality - an audit, which Lydian reckons, is not needed, Proactive Investors reports.
In September last year, an assessment was ordered by the Armenian government to study the possible impact of the project on water resources.
The scope of this work will now also include a review of the firm's Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), despite the fact that the EIA was previously approved by the Armenian authorities before the firm began constructing the project.
Blockades have prevented the company access to Amulsar since late June 2018.
"We have cooperated fully with the two previous government ordered audits since inception of the blockades in June 2018 and we will collaborate with ELARD in what we have been told by the government will be the final audit," said João Carrêlo, president and CEO of Lydian, in a statement Tuesday.
"In the meantime, we continue to engage with the Armenian government to enforce the rule of law in order to provide access to the Amulsar project site and allow Lydian to resume construction and environmental activities concurrently with the Third Audit.
He added: "Despite all our efforts to date and notwithstanding the current government’s intolerance of other illegal blockades in country, Lydian has been prevented from restarting construction activities. The Armenian government’s actions and inactions form part of an ongoing campaign targeting Lydian’s investments in Armenia. No other company in Armenia has been subjected to three audits since June 2018 and been unable to continue its operations."
Lydian International Limited announced on March 11 that, in connection with the ongoing blockades of road access to the Amulsar Gold Project, Lydian U.K. Corporation Limited and Lydian Canada Ventures Corporation - subsidiaries of the company - have formally notified the government of Armenia of the existence of disputes with the government of Armenia under the agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of Armenia for the Promotion and Protection of Investments, in force since July 11, 1996 (the “UK BIT”) and the Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Armenia for the Promotion and Protection of Investments, in force since March 29, 1999 (the “Canada BIT”), respectively.
Under the UK BIT, Lydian UK may submit the dispute to international arbitration three months after such formal notification, and under the Canada BIT, Lydian Canada can do so after six months. In the meantime, "the Armenian government has an opportunity to continue amicable discussions with Lydian with a view to the prompt settlement of the disputes," Lydian said in a statement.