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Lydian wins appeal against environmental directive to pause mining in Armenia

The administrative court of Armenia ruled in favor of Lydian International Ltd.'s local subsidiary and upheld the company's appeal against an August 2018 directive by a government entity preventing any mining-related activities at the company's Amulsar gold project.

The Environmental and Mining Inspection Body directed the company to refrain from any mining-related activities until the Ministry of Nature Protection conducted a study of newfound ecological factors alleged by the body's former head, Artur Grigoryan, to have been identified at Amulsar for the first time.

According to the court ruling, an independent investigation failed to verify the existence of the alleged ecological factors.

The court also found that Grigoryan was actively involved in anti-Amulsar activities prior to his appointment as the head of the inspection body, which raised reasonable doubts about his objectivity.

"Grigoryan failed to recuse himself from considering the matter when required to do so and declared Directive 30-A invalid," the company wrote Oct. 17, citing the court ruling.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan recently ruled out Lydian's need to prepare another environmental impact assessment to advance the Amulsar project.

A revised feasibility study for Amulsar in September lowered the project's net present value, discounted at 5%, to US$363 million, from the US$386 million outlined in 2017, to reflect the impact of the anti-mining blockade.