Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Monday, September 9 that the Amulsar gold mine in Armenia may be exploited in Q4 of 2020 at the earliest, but that the most likely time frame is the first quarter of 2021.
Pashinyan in a live Facebook address urged the residents of nearby settlements to unblock the roads leading to the mine.
The Prime Minister said he has instructed the Environmental Inspectorate to start inspections in Amulsar.
The purpose of inspections is to find the answers to a number of questions and verify the already public and published facts, he said.
“Questions that might remain unanswered after the inspections will be tackled in the scope of the criminal case," Pashinyan said.
Located in the southern Armenian province of Vayots Dzor, the Amulsar gold mine, owned by Jersey-incorporated Lydian International, has been in development for over a decade. In 2013, UK ambassador Katherine Leach called it “potentially the largest British investment in Armenia”. Lydian states it will provide $488 million to the Armenian state budget in tax and royalty contributions through the ten-year operation of the mine, as well as provide 770 jobs.
But after a mass protest movement pushed Armenia’s Republican Party out of power in April and May last year, the mine has become the site of a major stand-off between the Armenian government, protesters and the mining company.