On August 29, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, together with representatives of the government, “My Step” and “Prosperous Armenia” fractions of the National Assembly, Lydian Armenia LTD held a video conference with the experts of ELARD and TRC consulting companies to which the government paid 400.000 USD for conducting an assessment of Amulsar mining project’s Environmental Impact Assessment reports. The report produced by ELARD-TRC resulted in controversial reading. To dispel controversies, the Prime Minister expressed a wish to personally speak with the members of the expert group. The video material is published one day later, on August 30.
Fragment from the dialogue between Nikol Pashinyan and ELARD’s Team Leader, Ricardo Khouri.
Nikol Pashinyan — When you were saying that if additional proper measures are taken, then risks will become management, we have a problem evaluating your statement. What does it mean? The whole issue came from this. The majority of people here are not experts, and I would like to ask you to clarify what you mean by saying “they will be manageable”? What does this mean? Does it mean that our waters will be less polluted, polluted to a medium extent, they will not be polluted at all?
Ricardo Khouri — The uncertainty in my response is related to the fact that the assessed impacts, in other words, the chemicals to enter into water is part of the deficiencies I meant, in the current EIA, however if the proposed measures are taken, then we believe that the impact will be manageable in as much as it will not longer have significant impact on water resources, neither underground, nor rivers. In other words, measures can be taken to guarantee that the current standards set by the government of Armenia will be met without limiting the use of these water resources. In other words, it will be possible to use this resources without limitations.
Nikol Pashinyan — Am I getting it correct that You’re saying, that in the event of the measures proposed by Lydian, you’re not confident that we will guarantee compliance of the water quality to the standards, i.e. cleanness. Because you’re not confident, then you’re proposing additional measures, which according to you, will lead to a complying situation that we will have some level of confidence, however at the cost of meeting certain conditions.
Ricardo Khouri — In essence, the measures proposed by Lydian are insufficient, in order for them to become complete, it is import for you to revisit the EIA and come up with your mitigation measures based on the proposals of a new EIA.
Fragment from a statement to Lydian’s representatives
ELARD Expert — You [addressing to Lydian] have so many gaps, I don’t think this is the right place to discuss it. You know very well what I mean, and you know about those gaps.
Nikol Pashinyan — Excuse me, but I think it is actually the right place to discuss those flaws.
ELARD expert — You have presented an 11-page response to our draft report, we answered each of your points and posed questions. You have not answered them or your answers have circumvented them… your EIA failed a number of assessments, you have not assessed the remaining territories, you have not even conducted the water circulation assessment of your HLF impact in accordance with the scale of water systems, do you want me to go on this list?
The full skype video conference is available here։