“The Skype conference call hosted by the government members with ELARD consultancy group representatives addressing the audit report of Amulsar Project and related environmental impact assessments revealed what we had been voicing long ago,” Nazeli Vardanyan, environmentalist, the head of “Armenian Forests” NGO told Panorama.am in an interview.
“I have long stated that the ELARD study was illegal and the conclusions incomplete as they had not carried out a field study while speaking about meeting the international standards sounds ridiculous.”
“On August 14 when the Investigative Committee announced that the mine operation does not pose any environmental threats, and the criminal case was suspended, I understood the criminal proceedings was interpreted upside down and we dealt with official fraud and abuse of power,” Vardanyan said, the investigators acted out of the scope of their capacities since they were not authorized in providing conclusions over environmental risks of Amulsar project operation.
Vardanyan pointed to the media reports about family ties of the investigator and the former minister of environment who approved the Lidian audit report back in 2016. In her words, Investigator Yuri Ivanyan had personal interest in the matter, closing the case that might refer to his relatives.
“Following the Skype conference the problem with Amulsar operation is now solved,” said the environmentalist. “Lidian should be prohibited to launch any activity in Armenia. It is not a trustful organization. The report proved provided data in the audit report were false. it should further be deprived of the right to apply for a new assessment/ All the grounds are available for Armenia to cease Lidian operation,” Vardanyan explained.