YEREVAN (Reuters) — Armenia’s prime minister called on Saturday, January 25, for environmental protesters to end their 18-month-old blockade of a foreign-owned gold mine, saying the protest was not in the national interest.
The Amulsar gold mine, which is located in a remote mountainous region, has been in development by Anglo-American mining firm Lydian International since 2016, with an investment of nearly $500 million so far.
The company says the project meets all the legal and environmental requirements, and would generate hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenues.
But a group of local residents and environmental activists have prevented access to the mine by blocking a road to the site since June 2018, putting pressure on the government to act in order to safeguard a major foreign investment.
“I consider their (protesters) actions are not logical … and not in the interest of Armenia,” Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told a news conference. “This issue will not be resolved as long as the roads are blocked.”
Pashinyan said he suspected there were some hidden economic interests stirring up the protest.