TORONTO, Aug. 30, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lydian International Limited (TSX: LYD) (“Lydian” or the “Company”) expressed deep disappointment today with comments made by Earth Link & Advanced Resources Development (“ELARD”) on a Skype conference call hosted by the Government of Armenia on August 29th to discuss an environmental audit of Lydian’s Amulsar Project and related environmental impact assessments.
During the conference call, ELARD made repeated references to ‘gaps’ or ‘deficiencies’ and a ‘lack of quality’ to the data and information made available to them during the audit. Although Lydian Armenia has stated from the outset that ELARD’s engagement by the Special Investigation Committee (the “SIC”) was both unnecessary and unsupported under Armenian Law, the company cooperated fully with the SIC and ELARD in their investigation and development of their report (the “Audit Report”).
Indeed, Lydian and its technical advisors provided the SIC and ELARD with direct access to all personnel and supporting information for over three months, including over 300 reports representing over 20,000 pages of data and materials that had been developed over an 8-year period relating to environmental aspects of the Amulsar Project. The SIC has reported on multiple occasions that Lydian cooperated fully in connection with the audit. Indeed, the SIC reviewed the Audit Report and concluded that there was no basis on which to proceed against Lydian.
Lydian’s technical advisors included reputable international companies such as Wardell Armstrong International, Golder Associates, Environmental Resources Management, Global Resource Engineering, Treweek Environmental Consultants and others. They assisted Lydian in meeting or exceeding rigorous and leading global standards of environmental stewardship and sustainability under an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (“ESIA”) to qualify for investment and ongoing support by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (“IFC”) and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (“EBRD”). Moreover, Lydian’s environmental performance and the ESIA have been audited by an independent international auditor, Knight Piesold, and was found substantially compliant with all applicable international standards (see the link).
While Lydian welcomed ELARD’s rightful conclusion about the lack of impact on Lake Sevan and the Jermuk water source, yesterday’s regrettable performance by ELARD reveals more about an apparent lack of capacity to review and analyze complex details of more than 20,000 pages of professional studies provided to them by leading global experts than it does about Lydian or the Amulsar Project.
ELARD’S comments during yesterday’s call regarding available data appear to be about a ‘wish list’ of what they would have preferred to be able to review. When asked, ELARD did not give any reference to any industry standards that Lydian did not comply with.
Rather than acknowledge that, ELARD continued to characterize what they ‘hoped’ to obtain as part of their review but was not available to them as ‘gaps’ or ‘deficiencies’ in the available data. ELARD simply never acknowledged or accepted that what they hoped they would be able to review was not in accord with industry practice and did not have to exist to support the EIA or ESIA processes or the grant of Lydian’s mining permits.
Lydian has been illegally deprived of its right to access and operate the Amulsar Project since June 2018. The Government of Armenia had repeatedly stated that the restoration of the rights of the Company to operate were dependent on the results of an audit conducted by ELARD. While Lydian believes there was no legal ground for tying the Company’s ability to exercise its legal right to operate to any further audit, Lydian cooperated fully with 3 consecutive audits over the past year. No other mining company in Armenia has been required to undergo any such audit.
The Government of Armenia has said publicly that Lydian and the Amulsar Project have been the subject of a campaign by rival mining companies providing support to opponents of the Amulsar Project. Armenian society has been dragged into an endless discussion around an audit which had no legal grounds to question Lydian’s rights to operate in the first place. When will the Government of Armenia identify the rival mining companies conducting this campaign, how much has been paid to oppose the Amulsar Project and who has been paid?
About Lydian International Limited
Lydian is a gold developer focused on construction at its 100%-owned Amulsar Project, located in south-central Armenia. However, illegal blockades have prevented access to Amulsar since late June 2018. Amulsar is expected to be a large-scale, low-cost operation with production targeted to average approximately 225,000 ounces annually over an initial 10-year mine life. Estimated mineral resources contain 3.5 million measured and indicated gold ounces and 1.3 million inferred gold ounces as outlined in the Q1 2017 Technical Report. Existing mineral resources beyond current reserves and open extensions provide opportunities to improve average annual production and extend the mine life. Lydian is committed to good international industry practices in all aspects of its operations including production, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility. For more information and to directly contact us, please visit www.lydianinternational.co.uk.
For further information, please contact:
|Edward Sellers, Interim President & CEO
|Bill Dean, Chief Financial Officer
Caution regarding forward-looking information
Certain information contained in this news release is “forward looking”. All statements in this news release, other than statements of historical fact, that address events, results, outcomes or developments that the Company expects to occur are “forward-looking statements”. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts and are generally, but not always, identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “plans”, “expects”, “is expected”, “intends”, “anticipates” or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “will”, “would”, “should”, or “occur” or the negative or other variations of such terms. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, among others, statements with respect to: the Audit Report and its contents; the Company’s compliance with applicable international standards; whether any further EIA will be required for the Amulsar Project; the response of the Armenia Government to EBRD’s comments and Lydian’s response to such comments; the Company’s approach to environmental and operating practices; the ability of the Company to resume construction and/or gain access to the Amulsar Project, of which there can be no assurances; the realization of mineral resource estimates and the timing of development of the Amulsar Project; the commitment to and implementation of good international industry practices; the expected gold production from, and life of mine of, the Amulsar Project; and the expected mining methods at the Amulsar Project. Statements concerning mineral resource estimates may also be deemed to constitute forward-looking information to the extent that they involve estimates of the mineralization that will be encountered when the property is developed.
Forward-looking statements are necessarily based on estimates and assumptions that are inherently subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks, uncertainties and factors include, without limitation: changes in gold and silver prices; adverse general economic, political, market or business conditions; failure to achieve the objectives of the future exploration and drilling programs; regulatory changes; as well as "Risk Factors" included in the disclosure documents filed on and available at www.sedar.com. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results and future events could materially differ from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. All of the forward-looking statements contained in this news release are qualified by these cautionary statements. The Company expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, events or otherwise, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.