Lydian International Ltd. has concluded its isotopic investigation of groundwater systems at the company’s gold project at Amulsar and the Jermuk area. In November, the hydrogeological survey was commissioned in response to technical questions raised by interested parties. Twenty-five samples were collected in the presence of agency representatives of the government of the Republic of Armenia from specific sampling points in the Amulsar and Jermuk areas, according to Lydian.

Lydian’s samples were analyzed by internationally accredited laboratory, ALS in the Czech Republic, and the data was interpreted by U.K.’s Golder Associates’ principal hydrogeologist. Their conclusion was “the chemistry of the waters of the Jermuk thermal springs and minerals water boreholes are characteristic of hydrothermal waters based on their major and minor ion chemistry and environmental isotopic characteristics.” Also that is was not similar to groundwater near the Amulsar mountain and “supports the conclusion that the groundwater system of Amulsar mountain is a distinct hydrogeological system to the Jermuk hydrothermal system.”

“In summary, based on the data and analysis of the groundwater regime presented in the 2016 ESIA for the Amulsar Gold Project, combined with the major ion and isotope data presented in this memorandum it may be concluded that the Jermuk thermal mineral water system is not in hydraulic connection with shallow groundwater and surface water on the Amulsar mountain,” the report said.

The results of the hydrogeological survey confirmed the findings of Lydian’s previous work in 2013 and support the findings of the Amulsar Project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA).

The investigation was designed to develop and expand the data collected for the project in 2013.

Lydian said the hydrogeological survey clearly concludes that the Amulsar and Jermuk water systems are not connected.

Lydian Armenia CJSC has received formal notification from the Investigative Committee of the Republic of Armenia that pursuant to the criminal investigation into alleged withholding of information by employees of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, an international consultancy group, Earth Link, and Advanced Resources Development (ELARD) has been selected to review all subject matter covered by Lydian’s EIA/ESIA, to determine the possibility of harmful impacts by the Amulsar Project and the validity of preventative and mitigation measures. However, the contract award to ELARD is subject to state funding and the audit start date has not yet been announced. The audit is expected to take up to 12 weeks to complete.

Lydian believes the audit will find that the EIA/ESIA documents are valid and could serve as a blueprint for future projects in Armenia.

Illegal blockades have prevented Lydian from accessing the Amulsar Project site to perform construction and associated work since late June 2018. The newly elected government of the Republic of Armenia has recently announced their intolerance of illegal road blockades and has committed to its application of the “rule of law” to remove such blockades. Until construction resumes, the company said it will continue to evaluate a range of financing, strategic and legal alternatives.