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Accepted Paper:

Contestation of Amulsar Project’s EIA as a Key Element of Popular Struggle against the Mine In Armenia  

Author:

Milena Baghdasaryan (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia)

Paper short abstract:

The approval of Amulsar gold-mine by the former semi-authoritarian regime has generated a large-scale movement against the mine. Contestation of the project’s EIA has become a key element of the struggle. Though experts gave negative evaluation of the EIA, the struggle is far from being successful.

Paper long abstract:

The former semi-authoritarian regime, in power between 1998 and 2018, granted an exploitation license for Amulsar gold-mining project to an offshore company in 2009. The company’s latest EIA’s was approved in 2016. The project was controversial from its very inception. The exploitation of the mountain, which has high potential for acid rock drainage, could pollute nearby rivers and storage lakes, affect areas protected by Berne Convention, destroy or impact habitats of Red List species and extinguish the tourist economy of the town of Jermuk. The local residents found out about the project in 2010-2011 and protested against it since then. Their struggle, joined by civil initiatives and the wider public, included litigation, applying to company’s investors and direct action. As pollution and impact on the local economy was the residents’ major concern, contestation of the project’s EIA became a central element of their struggle. This has become effective, since several local scholars and international experts have come to the conclusion that the EIA does not properly assess the project’s environmental impacts. After the Velvet Revolution of 2018, the issue gained more public resonance and the new government, ignoring other controversies, decided to base its stance on experts’ evaluation of the project’s EIA. However, after the experts they hired concluded that the EIA was improper and a new one was required, the case entered a limbo. The paper seeks to unpack the complexities of the case, including interrelations of different actors with respect to the EIA.

Panel Mora08
Local effects, global alliances, and Environmental Impact Assessments at resource extraction projects