Society 12:46 07/03/2023 Armenia

Over 30,000 people sign petition against Amulsar gold mine project

A total of 30,026 people have already signed a Change.org petition against the Amulsar gold mine exploitation.

“The petition was drafted in 2016 and was updated in 2020 and 2023 to reflect changes over the recent years. The Armenian government signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding with the Russian-led Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) and Lydian Armenia to resume Amulsar gold mining construction which was stopped thanks to public resistance in 2018,” the authors said.

The updated statement of the Armenian civil society is available here.

"We demand that Osisko Gold Royalties, Orion Mine Finance and any other shareholders and investors of the Lydian corporation divest from the Amulsar gold project in Armenia. We also demand that Eurasian Development Bank and other new / potential investors refrain from funding the project, and that the Government of Armenia stops supporting it.

"Numerous expert findings confirm that open-pit extraction and cyanide leaching of gold from Mount Amulsar of Vayots Dzor region will inevitably pollute the invaluable water resources of Armenia, it will have a negative impact on the ecosystem of the country and beyond, it will devastate the currently active sectors of Vayots Dzor region’s economy highly dependent on agriculture and tourism and will destroy the economic future of Jermuk, a famous mineral thermal water health resort town. The project was approved without consulting and seeking the consent of the most affected communities, it clearly runs contrary to their democratic decision of banning metal mining in their communities, which literally depend on the rivers originating from the top of this mountain. Amulsar gold mine project’s approval was also a violation of major legal norms of Armenia. There is strong resistance against the project in all of Armenia and most notably at the local communities who claim the project is a major violation of their rights, therefore they have set up blockades of the mine construction site for two consecutive years. This has resulted in several major funding institutions divesting and the company going bankrupt and restructured into the ownership of the above-mentioned hedge funds.

"Nevertheless, international corporations and financial institutions, as well as the governments of the UK and US backing them, have been pressuring for continuing the mine exploitation. At the same time, in 2023 a Russian-Kazakh development bank comes in with funding for the project. It is no surprise that Armenia’s government elected after a revolution against the former authoritarian regime gives in to these pressures and even enters deals by taking over company shares. This is absolutely unacceptable!" reads the petition.



Source Panorama.am
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