U.S. Ambassador and Prime Minister Visit Lydian Mining Site

On August 15, U.S. Ambassador Richard M. Mills, Jr. visited Lydian International’s Amulsar project site in the company of Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan and the Minister of Energy, Yervand Zakharyan. The Amulsar project is the largest international investment in Armenia, with a bulk of institutional investors from the United States.  The Ambassador, Prime Minister, and Minister of Energy had the opportunity to tour the Amulsar Gold Project site with Mr. Hayk Aloyan, the CEO of Geoteam, Lydian’s local branch. Mr. Aloyan presented details about Lydian’s planned capital investments and the number of jobs that will be created during the construction and operational phases of the project.

During the visit, Ambassador Mills emphasized that the opening of this mine is an important economic opportunity for Armenia, and underscored the equal importance of ensuring that potential harm to the environment is minimized.  In that regard, Ambassador Mills mentioned that Lydian International is known for utilizing responsible mining practices that adhere to international environmental standards. Ambassador Mills expressed the hope that Lydian’s Amulsar project will become an example of responsible mining, which will show that it is possible to find a balance between economic and environmental interests.

In his remarks, Ambassador Mills also warmly welcomed the recent decision by the Government of Armenia to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which is built on the principle of allowing the public to see and be confident that a country’s natural resources are extracted using the best methods and that the proceeds are appropriately shared.  The Ambassador stated that “while work remains to be done before Armenia can become an EITI compliant country, when it does, it will bring more public transparency to the mining sector and help foster the sustainable development of the industry.” The Ambassador concluded by emphasizing that “the United States greatly values its deepening economic ties with Armenia and commends the Government of Armenia for the commitments it has made to improve the business environment.”

The following morning, the Ambassador, Prime Minister, and Minister of Energy visited two community development projects that are part of Lydian International’s corporate social responsibility program, an arts center and a kindergarten that have been renovated in nearby Jermuk.  Ambassador Mills emphasized the benefit of corporate social responsibility, a Western corporate best practice in which companies seek to become truly involved in their local community and contribute to its betterment.

To further support the development of a healthy and responsible mining industry in Armenia, the U.S. Embassy recently organized two exchange programs to the United States for environmental and mining professionals to study the American experience in the operation, conservation, and reclamation of mines.