The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development sent a letter in reply to the public enquiry on Amulsar gold mining project by Lydian International Company, a shareholder of which is EBRD. Below are the questions addressed to he Bank and their replies:
1."To what extent... does [the] project comply with the negative opinion of Scientific-expert Committee on Lake Sevan Preservation and how Amulsar project can be made in line with the requirements of the national legislation? "
The EBRD's 2008 Envkonmental and Social Policy requires that projects "are designed and operated in compliance with applicable regulatory requirements...." As a result, EBRD could not provide financing to Amulsar mine development if it is not in compliance with national legislation and structured to meet EBRD requirements. We expect the Envkonmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) that is currently in preparation to assess legal compliance for the project. In addition, EBRD Performance Requirement 10 requires that ciients engage in meaningful consultation with stakeholders, and we expect all opinions and views to be considered following the upcoming public consultations following the disclosure of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) which is currently anticipated for disclosure in September.
2."How does the company intend to ensure the state quantity of gold and silver ...while the ...Nature Protection Ministry bans disposing any cyanic plant in the mentioned project territory? "
This issue will need to be addressed in the draft ESIA.
3." What are the grounds for excluding Kechout-Jermukfrom Amulsr project impact zone?
The rationale for the scope of the Project and the definition of the Project's Area of Influence will need to be included in the draft ESIA.
4.How the company will fulfill the requirement on compliance with Article 26 of RA Code on "OnSubsoil,...?"
The ESI A will clarify how the project will meet legal requirements, including providing information on any red-listed species and sites of historical and cultural heritage.
5."Whether the risfa ofAmulsar project reflected ... in the opinions of Scientific-expert Committee on Lake Sevan, WWF-Armenia, Jermuk Town Municipal Administration and public opinion will be included in the ESIA? "
The draft ESIA itself is expected to report the findings and conclusions of the experts who have conducted the various investigations and analyses. They in turn will be aware of the various opinions you cite in your letter. The ESIA package will be disclosed for public review and comment, prior to being finalised, and will include an action plan of commitments as well as a Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP). The SEP will identify different stakeholders who may be affected by or interested in the project, and propose a programme of consultation to ensure that the stakeholders have opportunities to ask questions and raise concerns. Your comments on the SEP are also welcomed to ensure that all stakeholders have an opportunity to voice their opinions.
6."To what extent will the [ESIA] submitted to IFIs be objective if both IFC and EBRD are company shareholders and are interested in the promotion of Amulsar project? " EBRD is not directly involved in Amulsar, but has acquired shares in Lydian and has imposed certain requirements on them, including the requirement that the company prepare a ESIA that complies with European Union standards if they intend to proceed to mine development. As to objectivity, EBRD will conduct its own independent review of the ESIA to determine if it can be considered adequate and meet the detailed requirements of the EBRD policies, including the European Union EIA Directive. The EBRD will also require a technical review of the ESIA by an independent consultant. Finally, we note that the ESIA is being prepared by an international firm of consultants, Wardell Armstrong, which is very experienced in these type of investigations. Following the ESIA, the independent technical review, and the results of the public consultation, the EBRD will be able to form an opinion on the proposed project."
17:23 August 23, 2013