The following is an American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia press release.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia (AmCham) is the leading business association in the country with more than 120 members from all business segments. Through advocacy efforts in various areas AmCham promotes a healthy business and investment environment in Armenia for all sectors of the economy its members represent.
AmCham believes that sustainable businesses, which are closely connected to healthy economic, social and environmental systems, can create economic value and contribute to healthy ecosystems and strong communities.
In this respect, AmCham welcomed the Government’s announced commitment to promote responsible practices and international standards in the mining sector in Armenia. AmCham believes that responsible mining, based on ICMM, IFC, EBRD and other internationally recognized standards and frameworks, can be a viable part of the Armenian economy. As stated before, we believe that AmCham members like Lydian Armenia, which counts EBRD among its shareholders, already comply with these standards. Moreover, AmCham welcomes the protection of biodiversity and expects all member companies to comply with the law.
While AmCham welcomes professional and impartial audits in the mining sector, the developments of the last few months have raised some concerns.
While the head of the State Inspection of Environment and Mining claimed new ecological factors and publicly called to halt the project, the Minister of Environmental Protection refuted those findings. We consider it of utmost importance to ensure that such premature statements that are not based on sound scientific data do not send controversial messages to the market.
AmCham also regrets that the roads to Amulsar remain blocked for more than three months and Lydian Armenia is deprived of its legal right to operate. While concerns around the industry are understandable, AmCham expects that these concerns be addressed through legal means and in a fair and professional manner. We also expect to see standards be applied equally and fairly to all players in the industry.
As a business organization, AmCham looks forward to seeing a viable, responsible and sustainable mining sector in Armenia. In this regard a level playing field and the transparent, predictable and non-discriminatory application of the law are vital.