by Arthur Yernjakyan
Over the past 10 years Great Britain and many other countries have propagandized the idea of transparency in mining industry, Katherine Leach, the UK Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Armenia, said during an international conference titled "Responsible Mining in Armenia: Opportunities and Challenges" in Yerevan on March 25.
Ambassador Leach said that national resources are the property of the whole society and the public has the right to be informed and to ask questions.
It should be noted that the representatives of NGOs were trying to boycott the conference in every possible way. However, the ambassadors invited to the conference were not confused at all. U.S. Ambassador John Heffern said that the goal of the conference was to establish a dialogue and to get familiarized with the best international practices in mining industry. He pointed out that the local residents should also benefit from development of the mines. German Ambassador Reiner Morell even expressed his content with the presence of so many NGOs. He said that the environmental component is very important in this field and it should be given high priority.
The conference was organized by the World Bank and Armenian government, with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), International Finance Corporation (IFC), Embassy of the United States, German Embassy in Yerevan, British Embassy and Canadian government.