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Foreign miner files BIT notice in relation to Armenian mining project that has been blockaded by protestors

A junior mining company, Lydian International, announced today that a pair of its subsidiaries have put the Republic of Armenia on notice of a dispute under that country’s bilateral investment treaties with Canada and the United Kingdom.

Lydian’s 100%-owned Amulsar Gold Project, in south-central Armenia, has been besieged by protests since mid-2018, with access blockades preventing further construction and development at the project site.

Lydian holds two Mineral Exploration Licences and a mining licence for the Artavasdes and Tigranes open pit at Amulsar, through its 100% owned Armenian subsidiary Lydian Armenia CJSC.

According to a recent profile of the protests by Al Jazeera, project opponents have expressed concerns about mining impact on agricultural lands, nearby lakes and a famous mineral springs.

Readers may recall that Armenia underwent a revolution in 2018, leading to the ousting of an administration that had been in power for a decade. The Lydian project was approved by the prior administration, and the current administration must now decide whether to throw in its lot with the project or the protestors.

Readers may further recall that a series of recent BIT awards have dealt with mining projects that were dogged by local protests. (See our in-depth analysis of the awards in cases the Copper Mesa v. Ecuador, Bear Creek v. Peru and South American Silver v. Bolivia cases.)