The existing mining legislation makes it very attractive for mining companies to operate in Armenia. However, mining done under this legislative framework exposes the country’s environment and public health to significant damage. It also deprives the country of greater economic benefits the sector could provide. It provides negligible benefits to offset these costs.
The American University of Armenia (AUA) Center for Responsible Mining has launched a project called the Mining Legislation Reform Initiative (MLRI), made possible through founding support from the Tufenkian Foundation.
This initiative will identify the legislation gaps and, through a multi-year effort, will aim to change them for the better. The overall goal is to ensure that mining provides sufficient benefit to the nation to outweigh its many costs. Activities under this initiative will include creating coalitions and consultative groups between the Armenia government, RA National Assembly, international community, NGOs and concerned communities in identifying legislative gaps as well as crafting and implementing change. In fact, collaboration with the civil society, advocacy groups, academic institutions, as well as relevant national and international organizations is a key component of the initiative. At the same time, MLRI works with key governmental and legislative bodies in securing draft legislation’s passage into law.
The goal of the initiative will be achieved through by researching, drafting, and hopefully passing legislation that elevates the socio-economic benefits of mining, while reducing the negative environmental and public-health impacts. MLRI will also provide an ongoing watchdog function in alerting citizens on mining-related legislative changes that may be to public detriment.
Through research, training, and advocacy, the Center for Responsible Mining promotes the creation and adoption of global best practices in socially, environmentally, and economically responsible mining of Armenia and the region. To archive this, the Center engages with all key stakeholders, including industry, civil society, environmental advocacy groups, financial institutions, and the public sector.