February 4, 2021 - 16:26 AMT
Pashinyan weighs in on possible exploitation of Amulsar gold mine

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said the country should take measures to make investment programs in the mining sector "more manageable and acceptable" for the society.

Addressing a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, February 4, Pashinyan expressed hope that the government will manage to make important decisions, including on the Amulsar gold mine.

"This topic should be discussed, taking into account the balanced interests of Armenia. We must find solutions," the Prime Minister said.

"Whether we like it or not, the mining industry plays a very important role for the Armenian economy, including in the security context."

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.