Armenian Environmental Front – Who are Lydian’s “independent” mining experts?
There are number of factual reasons why no mine should be exploited in Amulsar and these have been brought forward by experts with years of experience.
However, in addition to this, the offshore Lydian company that hopes to dig gold on Amulsar mountain is not only inexperienced in mining sector, it also presents wrong information to public and to state authorities who in their turn are responsible for permitting this project and thus violating all laws. The company spreads such information also through media trying to create positive attitude towards its planned activities. The company not only misleadingly claims that they can control any risk, but that all their claims can be backed by independent experts.
On January 12, the company met with the representatives of the Ministry of Nature Protection and claimed that all environmental risks in Amulsar are manageable. To prove this, the company invited Larry Breckenridge – an international independent expert according to the company. However even a short research in google makes it clear that this expert cannot be independent, since he and the company he works for- Global Resource Engineering, worked for Lydian for years and wrote reports for it, including the report on Amulsar Project Geochemical Characterization and Prediction Report, Feasibility report, etc.
Another case: on 16th of October 2017 mining industry expert Aaron Steeghs was to give a public talk at American University of Armenia. It was organized in cooperation with Lydian International. The public talk did not happen. But something else is worth mentioning. The speaker was to present about modern mining and “Beyond Zero Harm” framework which he had created. According to event description this framework is a mechanism for mining companies to avoid inflicting environmental harm, for protecting health of the nearby communities and workers’ safety. The speaker however was not an independent one (how could he if the event was co-organized by Lydian) since he works as an expert at “Community Development Advisory” of International Finance Corporation. The latter for years had invested in Lydian. But more than this, Aaron Steeghs is directly linked with the vice president of sustainability at Lydian International Robert Carreau as they worked together for Canadian IAMGOLD and Breakwater Resources mining companies. Additionally, Aaron Steeghs is Robert Carreau’s daughter’s husband.
Thus it is impossible to expect that Lydian presents any independent assessment to public or the government. When all truly independent expertise against this mine project is taken into account, absence of grounds of Lydian’s claims become even more evident.
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