Launch of Amulsar Construction Is End to Little Armenian Switzerland-Jermuk

The launch of the construction works on Amulsar gold mining project was marked with huge arrogance. The ceremony was attended by the Armenian top officials, the Prime Minister of Armenia Mr. Hovik Abrahamyan, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Levon Yolyan, Minister of Economy Artsvik Minasyan, heads of communities of Jermuk, Gndevaz, Saravan and Gorayk. Lydian board of directors, several shareholders, representatives of EBRD and IFC, heads of Yerevan offices of the World Bank Mrs. Laura Bailey and IMF Mrs. Teresa Daban Sanchez also attended the ceremony. Ambassador of the USA in Armenia Mr. Richard Mills and Ambassador of the UK in Armenia Mrs. Judith Farnworth dispatched their congratulations and welcome notes.

The local heads also attended this event, for example, Jermuk Mayor Vardan Hovhannisyan, who has been actively opposing Amulsa project having concerns that Jermuk will lose its significance for tourists, where millions of dollars have been invested. The problem is that Jermuk is under the impact of Amulsar mine, which shall be developed in opencast manner, the mine will be developed with explosions and the dust will be spread together with elements, heavy metals and active chemical compounds.

It’s already three years since Vardan Hovhannisyan doesn’t make any comments on Amulsar.
We are starting to give farewell to Jermuk, as it’s hard to imagine that people will strive for visiting “metal-saturated” resort for treatment and health.

Jermuk will turn into an industrial town, where tourists will be replaced with Amulsar mine workers. “…Maybe Jermuk will bear the most significant influence from this influx conditioned with the place of project operation, residential areas, entertainment places and opportunities…The workers will be placed in a limited number of hotels and can be hosted together with tourists. The characteristics of the mining labour force will essentially differ from the tourism one and the dispersion of workers in the different hotels of Jermuk will strengthen this effect…Renting 250-300 rooms will change the activity of tourists to a certain degree effectively replacing the “dollars” of tourists, the dollars of the “project”, as Lydian’s Amulsar gold mine project says. The risks of possible inflation and noise and vibration inherent to mining add here…Probably the mine workers will be able to pay more for the accommodation, food, transportation and other main goods. Based on the availability of the mentioned goods and the response to local merchants, such additional buying capacity may generate localized inflation…. The most affected people by the increase in noise and vibration related with construction works are the employees of Geoteam company the residents of the nearest located communities such as Gndevaz, Saravan, Saralanj and Jermuk (including also Kechout Village) and Gorayq communities…”

We are presenting a new documentary by Meira Valtonen and Megan Horvath entitled "Armenia's little Switzerland" shot tracing Amulsar project in Jermuk in September 2015 with the support of International CEE Bankwatch Network.

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