On July 6, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan left Kapan for Jermuk. Onboard of an helicopter together with Levon Galstyan, a representative of the Armenian Environmental Front, and Lydian Armenia CEO Hayk Aloyan, the Prime Minister followed the ongoing Amoulsar mine development activities, after which he met with local residents and environmentalists protesting against the exploitation of Amoulsar mine in Kechut.
Nikol Pashinyan said his visit had a fact-finding purpose. During the meeting, the Head of Government suggested holding a meeting with the protesters and Lydian Armenia representatives in order to take note of each other’s positions and come to a decision. The Premier’s proposal was accepted unanimously. Then the meeting continued in Jermuk. Prime Minister Pashinyan noted that the mine exploitation process started 12 years ago, if it had been initiated under the current government, he would have declined the idea of commissioning a mine like that near Jermuk.
“We have a situation when a huge amount of investment has already been made de jure with the permission of the Armenian government; at this point at least, we do not have information about any breach of environmental standards. Checks are underway and will continue in connection with the exploitation of this mine. We must answer two questions: firstly, we must determine the potential impact on water resources and, secondly, find out the impact on the development of Jermuk as a resort town,” the Prime Minister said.
Nikol Pashinyan reminded that from the very beginning he used to say that all mine-related decisions should be based solely on facts, and not on emotions, since emotional decisions in the system of public administration are not so useful. Any solution will lead to its own developments.
“If we allow any illegality in this situation, at least from the point of view of international relations, we can face serious problems. We must understand the following: can we accept experts’ answers on the above issues? Decisions should be based on facts. I hope that the attendees are convinced that we all, including me, do not have any other interest in this matter except Armenia’s balanced interests,” Nikol Pashinyan emphasized.
The Prime Minister suggested establishing a trustworthy trilateral mechanism with the involvement of government officials, environmentalists and Lydian Armenia representatives to look into the aforementioned issues in order to have a final and irrevocable response.
Nikol Pashinyan stressed that his opinion will be based on expertise, justified and proven answers to these two questions. Each decision has its cost; no decision shall be made without a basis.
In this connection, the protesters said they were ready to develop such a mechanism in case Lydian Armenia suspends its activities during the survey. For their part, the representatives of Lydian Armenia said the Prime Minister’s proposal was acceptable to them, but they opposed to the idea of suspending their activities during the checks.
Prime Minister Pashinyan concluded that after collecting all the relevant facts, the government will state its position on the matter hand.
On the way back to Yerevan, the Prime Minister called at Gndevaz to talk with village residents who had gathered on the road to meet him.