Client: Lydian International
An Environmental Social Impact Assessment for a gold mine in southern Armenia
The client, Lydian International is building a new gold mine in the high mountains of southern Armenia. In order to meet International Finance Corporation (IFC) requirements and international regulations Lydian commissioned Treweek Environmental Consultants (TEC) to conduct an Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA). Working closely with TEC, Placewise focused on identiying and assessing the social impact of the proposed gold mine.
We know that a wide variety of ecosystem services and products contribute to local people’s livelihood, health and welfare. Therefore it is important to identify and assess how people interact with nature. For example, local women often harvest and sell wild herbs to supplement their income as well as treat ailments. Villages near the mine site are famous for growing premium apricots. These apricots are exported internationally. We focused on how changes to the local environment associated with the mine might effect local people. We included vulnerable groups such as seasonal herders who occupy the area during the summer months. Data was collected using focus groups and face-to-face interviews.
TEC concluded that an environmental set aside are and offset were necessary. They have proposed establishing a new national park. This will be near Jermuk, a spa town famous for its thereapeutic spring water. The national park will provide a habitat for protected species such as the brown bear and potentilla, a rare, ‘red book’ plant.
In preparation for creating the national park Placewise mapped key stakeholders. TEC combined this data with extensive ecological surveying. Negotiations are now under way with Lydian and representatives from the national and local Armenian government to establish the new national park as soon as possible.