MLRI-proposed regulations tightening environmental review process adopted

The Armenian government recently adopted new regulations implementing changes to the law governing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, including the mining sector. The new regulations demonstrate a firm commitment to making the mining license application and approval processes to be scientifically-based. These new requirements will reduce the discretion of mining enterprises when presenting information about geological data, impact on ground and surface water and other vital ecosystems, which has been lacking so far.  By incorporating EIA reports as part of the mining license application process, the new rules will make companies accountable for the environmental commitments outlined in their EIA reports.

“Previously, mining companies could prepare overly-optimistic EIA reports which did not coincide with reality and still receive permission to move their projects forward,” stated Artur Grigoryan, Director of the Mining Legislation Reform Institute (MLRI). “These new regulations will also require the government to employ a more scientific EIA review process based on objective data and expert analysis,” he concluded.

Going forward, mining enterprises will be required to use licensed companies to prepare EIA submissions, and the government will need to involve qualified experts to review and assess EIA reports. Such an approach will make the EIA review process less arbitrary and more predictable, helping all, including mining companies, plan their projects. 

MLRI’s specialists worked closely with the Environment Ministry for several months, helping to draft the newly approved regulations. This is one of several packages of regulations MLRI is working on in conjunction with the Ministry to implement the EIA legislation adopted in 2023 through MLRI’s efforts.

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18 June, 2024

The goal of the MLRI is to make metal mining in Armenia responsible by clarifying the legal obligations of mining companies and making them legally binding. The MLRI was founded in 2014 as a department of the Responsible Mining Center of the American University of Armenia, and in 2019, it became an independent non-profit organisation. The works of the MLRI have been possible through the support of the Tufenkian Foundation.