REFERENCE on continued activities in the direction of reassessment of “Amulsar gold-bearing quartzite deposit” exploitation project

09-11-2018

•    The Ministry of Nature Protection accomplished a number of consultations and negotiations with a broad range of local and international, professional, advisory and scientific organizations for the reassessment of the exploitation project of Amulsar gold-bearing quartzite deposit.
• It was made contact with the Geological Survey of  Sweden (Sw. Ge. AB)  (http://www.msgroup.net/page/swedishgeological/), the  Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI)  (https://resourcegovernance.org/)- which is a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Council (https://eiti.org/)- institutions of NAS RA, specialists, Bronozian and experts, diplomatic representations, state, international and non-governmental organizations.
•    Mining sector in Armenia, concerns over the exploitation of the Amulsar gold-bearing quartzite deposit and the opinions of various organizations were submitted to the aforementioned organizations
•    By the proposal of the NRGI team, the Ministry of Nature Protection made contact with one of the leading regional organizations specialized in environmental protection, water resource management and hydrogeological researches. The officers of the organization visited Armenia and met with the Minister of Nature Protection and all stakeholder subdivisions of the ministry, the Head of "Environmental Protection and Mining Inspection Body",  the Investigative Committee, officers of “Lydian Armenia” CJSC, scientific, non-governmental organizations and initiatives in Armenia.
•    There were held several meetings and professional discussions with Harut Bronozian, Dr. Anne Maest and Dr. Andre Sobolewski .
•    At the same time, experts of “Environmental Monitoring and Information Centre” SNCO of the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA supervise sampling and isotope laboratory expertise of surface water, river sediments and soil in Amulsar zone, according to the requirements of “Technical task of ecological research monitoring in Amulsar zone” developed by specialists of Chemical Physics after A.B. Nalbandyan of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia. Also, it is envisaged to send the samples to foreign laboratories for assessment.
•    In the period from July to August, 2018 Environmental Protection and Mining Inspection Body conducted inspections in “Lydian Armenia” CJSC. The Head of the Inspection Body suggested to revoke state expertise EE-35 conclusions issued by the Minister of Nature Protection in 2016 by the note addressed to the Minister of Nature Protection concerning the outcomes of inspections, but so far, the Ministry of Nature Protection has not received any justification from the Inspection Body, specifically, any act, protocols or any document referring to the procedure, composed as a result of inspections, despite the fact that numerous formal letters were addressed to them.  
•    The only proposition that the Ministry has is the letter of the Head of the Inspection Body over revoking the expertise assessment.
•    The Ministry of Nature Protection has undertaken additional researches to clarify the above information in the current situation. For this purpose, a working group was set up by the Minister’s decree, which comprises of well-known scientists, including Marine Hovhannisyan and Alexander Danchenko, authors of the above mentioned plant and butterfly sections in the Red Book of Armenia. The Commission presented reports and protocols, according to which any individual of the aforementioned plant registered in the Red Book of Armenia has not been detected, thus the observed district is not considered as the habitat for "Apollo" butterfly species. 
•    Due to all these works and researches, the Ministry of Nature Protection developed an entire package of bidding documents, technical tasks, the scope of work, professional standards and the order to be introduced to the participants, which was submitted to the RA Government.
•    On November 8, the Investigative Committee of RA announced a tender on pre-qualification procedure of  international independent expertise of environmental impact assessments, environmental and social impact assessments established for Amulsar gold-bearing quartzite deposit.
 

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