Environment vs Investment: The Gold Mine Conundrum in Armenia

Foreign investors promise to bring economic growth in the country. But at what price? For months, Armenia has been facing a dilemma between investment and environment.

Near Jermuk, a town in southeast Armenia famed for its mineral spring, a controversial gold mine is threatening the natural landscape. Therefore, for 3 weeks, environmental activists have been blocking all roads leading to the mine. As a result, workers, unable to reach their job site, counter protested.  

Jermuk inhabitants are divided on the issue. On one side, the hospitality industry has joined with local activists against the gold mine arguing that it embodies a danger for their business and for the environment. Witness perhaps, the gold mine already appears on Google map.

But the mine brings jobs and the project is one of the largest foreign investments in Armenia’s modern history. The construction phase currently employs 1,400 people. Finally, 700 employees are expected to work on the mine after.  

However, environmental claim that the jobs that Jerbuk will gain thanks to the mine will be lost in tourism activity. At the end of the day, Armenia, which finds it hard to attract investments is facing a dilemma: investment or environment? Armenia may do both.

By Antoine Dewaest

Photo: X.narine

25 July 2018 15:31