European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is a shareholder of Lydian International Company, the sole owner of Geoteam CJSC operating Amulsar gold mine in Armenia. EBRD became a shareholder of Lydian in 2009. Later on 21 March 2012, the bank increased its share in the company to 6.80%. Another 10.23% of shares in the company belong to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank.
by Arthur Yernjakyan
Dr. Dariusz Prasek, Director for Project Appraisal with the EBRD's Environment and Sustainability Department, kindly agreed to tell about EBRD’s policy in the mining industry in an interview with ArmInfo.
Mr. Prasek, Yerevan hosted an international conference entitled "Responsible Mining in Armenia: Opportunities and Challenges” on 25-26 March. Responsible mining and transparent activity of the mining companies became spotlights of the conference. The public is concerned that the national legislation in the field of environment either does not meet the international standards or is not fulfilled. What do you think about it?
Bringing the national environmental standards in line with the international ones helps improving the general environmental criteria and norms over time. This will have a positive impact on the mining industry regulations in the country.
Do we have much to do to meet international standards?
Armenia has already carried out a big work to regulate the legislation in the field and to apply international standards.
Do you think Armenia may come across an environmental disaster in the future due to the current regulation and exploitation insensitivity?
I cannot say whether the mining projects will lead to an environmental disaster in Armenia or not. But I can unambiguously say that we make sure that the projects with the EBRD’s participation are prepared in compliance with international criteria. I would add that the current development of science allows developing and applying mining technologies that do not violate the environmental standards.
Are the EBRD’s current environmental requirements tougher than the national requirements?
I cannot assess the requirements, because Armenia is holding no more negotiations with the European Union in application of European standards. Meanwhile, we are committed to the EU guidelines.
Can we say that the EBRD’s stake in any company’s capital is a landmark to attract investments?
I can say that if the EBRD has a stake in a company’s capital, we expect that company’s activities to meet international criteria. We also demand that the company should be open and ready for publications about its activities. Very often our participation means that the company must be open to the public.