Lydian wins gov’t support for Armenia gold mine

Construction activities at the Amulsar Project in Armenia. Source: Lydian International Ltd.

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Lydian International Ltd. [LYD-TSX; LYDIF-OTC] shares rallied Tuesday August 20 after the company said the government of Armenia is allowing its 100%-owned Amulsar Gold Project.

Lydian shares jumped 14.29% or $0.025 to 20 cents in early morning trading Tuesday before easing back to 18.5 cents on volume of over 1.0 million. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $0.065 and 28 cents.

Lydian issued a news release Tuesday saying it has the support of the Republic of Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who made the following statement in a live Facebook broadcast. “The information we currently have at the moment is very clear, the exploitation of the mine does not harm the environment.”

Pashinyan went on to state that Lydian would be permitted to proceed with the project.

Those comments were applauded by Lydian President and CEO Edward Sellers. “Thousands of Lydian supporters welcome final recognition from the Government of Armenia that there are no grounds for preventing Lydian from completing and operating the Amulsar Project.”

“There are significant challenges ahead as Lydian moves to recover and rebuild its capacity to operate over the coming months, but we are looking forward to engaging with our stakeholders and positioning Lydian to be able to get back to work,” Sellers said.

Lydian is a gold development company focused on construction at its 100%-owned Amulsar Gold Project, which is located in south-central Armenia. The project covers a region of epithermal-type gold mineralization and was discovered by Lydian in 2006.

The aim is to build a large-scale, low cost open pit, heap leaching operation with gold production targeted at an average of roughly 225,000 ounces annually over an initial 10-year mine life.

That is based on an estimated resources of 3.5 million measured and indicated gold ounces and 1.3 million inferred gold ounces, as outlined in a 2017 technical report.

The company has said existing mineral resources beyond current reserves and open pit extensions provide opportunities to improve average annual production and extend the mine life.

Development of Amulsar will use conventional open pit mining methods, over a minimum of 12 years. Development is scheduled to occur in phases with selective mining of orebodies.

However, illegal blockades have prevented Lydian and its contractors from accessing the Amulsar site since late June, 2018. Following an appeal from Pashinyan that appeared to have little impact on the blockade, Lydian was forced to issue termination notices last year to 100 employees, (30% of the workforce) and halt construction activity, a move that impacted roughly 1,000 contractors, Lydian said.

On Tuesday, Sellers said Lydian has been fully transparent in its environmental and operating practises. “Those practises meet or exceed all applicable international standards and were fully evaluated and confirmed as part of the comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment under which Lydian received its mining permits,” he said.

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