A Jersey mining company's $2 billion attack on Armenia's democracy
30 July 2019
For the past few months, we have been working to uncover the toxic plans of a Jersey-registered mining firm called Lydian International, who are threatening a corporate courts lawsuit that would undermine the Armenian people’s struggle for democracy.
Our journey to expose this injustice has taken us to the beautiful southern Armenian mountains. Here, on our recent solidarity trip, we heard first-hand how Lydian’s plans for a polluting gold mine have been scuppered by courageous local protesters. Galvanised by Armenia’s 2018 “Velvet Revolution”, a permanent community blockade has stopped all construction on the Amulsar mine and prevented any gold from being extracted.
With Lydian’s plans now on the rocks, they’re turning to the threat of corporate courts in an attempt to bully the Armenian government into forcefully removing local protesters.
Watch our new documentary film to learn more about corporate courts and Lydian’s toxic attack on democracy.
Armenia’s history is a story of brave struggle against violent colonialism and repression. The tragedy of the Armenian genocide of the early 20th century was followed by decades of Soviet rule. Independence in the 1990s then issued in years of autocratic government.
But in April 2018, Armenia’s “Velvet Revolution” saw mass peaceful protests topple the previous regime, bringing new hope for democracy.
The revolution inspired communities surrounding the Amulsar mine to take a stand for their water, land and livelihoods.
Our new film documents how, after construction began on the mine in 2016, water running out of local people’s taps turned black with mud. A deadly leak from the mine killed hundreds of fish at a local fish farm. Explosions from the mine coated the surrounding area with dust, stopping cattle grazing. And thousands of jobs in the nearby town of Jermuk, whose economy is reliant on health spa tourism, are now under threat.
What’s more, experts we met with warned that with the mine situated dangerously close to Lake Sevan, the country’s largest supply of fresh water, Lydian’s plans pose a threat to the entire country’s water supply.
To hear more from the communities resisting the mine, watch our new documentary.
Corporate courts vs democracy
People power has achieved remarkable things in Armenia over the past year. A repressive government has been overthrown. And the blockade at Amulsar has stopped a powerful mining firm in its tracks.
Corporate courts threaten all this. Lydian are using corporate courts to hold Armenia’s post-revolutionary government to ransom. Lydian’s threat is that if the Armenian government do not forcefully remove local protesters, then they will be sued for 2 billion dollars.
Stopping the toxic attack on democracy
For the communities surrounding the Amulsar mine, everything is on the line. Backing down is simply not an option and locals have made it clear that they will do whatever it takes. Meanwhile, the future of Armenia’s revolution hangs in the balance. Will the newly elected government side with its people or with wealthy investors?
Lydian are a Jersey-registered company using UK trade rules to undermine democracy and endanger Armenia’s environment. In solidarity with the Armenian people, we have to take action.
Across the world, people are fighting and winning against destructive mining and corporate courts. Together, we can stop Lydian’s toxic attack on democracy and end corporate courts for good.
Email Lydian and demand that they drop the threat of corporate courts and scrap all plans for toxic mining.
Image: Armenia Environmental Front