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PM confirms 'no legal basis' to prevent Amulsar development

Armenia-focused project developer Lydian International has received support from the republic’s prime minister as it continues its struggle to restore access to its Amsular project.
PM confirms 'no legal basis' to prevent Amulsar development PM confirms 'no legal basis' to prevent Amulsar development PM confirms 'no legal basis' to prevent Amulsar development PM confirms 'no legal basis' to prevent Amulsar development PM confirms 'no legal basis' to prevent Amulsar development

Armenia's PM Nikol Pashinyan has confirmed his support for Lydian's Amulsar project

Staff Reporter

The emerging jurisdiction's PM Nikol Pashinyan said during a live Facebook broadcast that protesters blocking access to Amsular should open the roads.

The US$370 million project, which has faced local public opposition, is on care and maintenance. Work on Amulsar came to a halt in June last year when protestors set up illegal blockades preventing access to the mine.

In an important vote of confidence for the project, Pashinyan confirmed there was no legal basis on which government could prevent Toronto-based Lydian from advancing the project. He said stopping Amulsar on environmental grounds, while the company received the required permits based on the existing environmental impact assessment, would signal "a discriminatory approach" and "not enhance Armenia's ability to attract foreign investment".

The PM said the government's mining and environmental inspection body would conduct an inspection to ensure Lydian was in compliance with its permits, a process that could take anything from 30 days to an indefinite period, depending on what it finds.

An independent audit of Lydian's environmental performance by Knight Piesold & Co found it to be "substantially compliant".

"Lydian is looking forward to recovering and rebuilding its ability to complete construction and operate the Amulsar project in accordance with its environmental performance standards," said CEO Edward Sellers.

"We are also looking forward to establishing a fair and transparent participatory environmental monitoring arrangement so Lydian and all its stakeholders can have confidence in the results and take pride in our operations."

The company said it would only be able to get back on site by the June-quarter next year, with first production now slated for early 2021, "depending on how construction advances".

Lydian's Toronto-quoted equity (TSX:LYD) has dropped about 45% in the past 12 months to C11.5c, which gives it a market capitalisation of $75.5 million.