In 2017, I was hosted by the Faculty of Mining and Metallurgy at the National Polytechnic University of Armenia. During my visit, I presented the Amulsar project to students and faculty members, additionally, I tried to encourage young students by highlighting the numerous opportunities for professional development that mining projects like Amulsar can offer to emerging professionals.
Today, I confidently make the same claim on every occasion, as throughout 18 years of Lydian Armenia's activity, I have seen young Armenian professionals aged 23-26 grow into leading specialists in the field, both in Armenia and abroad, acquire knowledge, and develop over the years. This growth and development were made possible in the frame of and thanks to the Amulsar project.
When I initiated the geological exploration in Amulsar in 2006 with local and international partners, I never imagined that years of hard work would lead us to discover one of the largest gold deposits in Armenia and it would face so many challenges.
Even more surprising was the significant impact that Amulsar would have on the lives and professional growth of many young Armenians involved in the project. Most of them spent their best years working at Lydian, collaborating with distinguished international experts to design the best mine in Armenia in terms of environmental, technological, and social management. As a result, they developed into in-demand specialists not only in the local market but also in the international arena.
Mining Journal award, exemplary EIA, and our young specialists
In 2011, Lydian received the “Outstanding Achievement” award by Mining Journal for the discovery and exploration of the Amulsar mine, a significant achievement for our team of young professionals on the global stage. Over five years, our geologists, led by experienced English geologist Tim Coughlin and myself, worked tirelessly to earn this recognition.
Back then Argam Snkhchyan was our senior geologist, who joined Lydian at the age of 26, and 24 years old Hovhannes Karapetyan was making his first steps in geology. Today, both are highly sought-after professionals who work on various mining projects in Morocco, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Georgia, and other countries.
At the start of their career, Amulsar allowed these young specialists to collaborate with more than 100 of the world's top geologists, who shared their knowledge and experience and provided guidance. As a result, we developed the best mining project, which won an international award and witnessed the growth of high-class geologists before our very eyes.
The members of our environmental team have also followed a similar path at Lydian, recording unprecedented successes, and receiving international recognition for their work.
Armen Stepanyan, one of the most in-demand sustainable development specialists in Armenia, began his career in this field at Lydian. In 2007, he joined the company at the age of 28 and spent nearly 14 years working at Amulsar, which served as a valuable learning experience for him. Today, Armen is the Sustainable Development Director at Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine, the largest mining company in Armenia.
Artur Pepanyan, the acting Head of the Environmental Department at Lydian, started his career in Armen's team when he was 24 years old. During the 12 years of working at Lydian, Arthur has taken environmental management courses in London and established himself as a knowledgeable and experienced specialist.
Armen, Arthur, and other members of our environmental team have worked alongside world-renowned specialists in the fields of biodiversity, environmental management, and sustainable development at Amulsar, including Joe Trewick, David Brignall, John Harker, and others. Together, they developed the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment report for Amulsar, which was recognized as exemplary during a special symposium organized by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Impact Assessment Association in 2018. This report continues to be used as a model by various mining projects.
Accident-free construction, conflict-free land acquisition
The work safety culture that we established at Lydian in the early 2000s was unprecedented in Armenia. Since no skilled professionals were available, we were training and tailoring them at Lydian.
Professional courses and training programs at various well-known organizations and the exchange of experience with international experts have contributed to the success of Arthur Hovsepyan and Gurgen Yeghiyan, former employees of our Occupational Safety team, in becoming leading specialists. Gurgen is originally from the Gndevaz community near Amulsar. Today, he is continuing to perform his professional activities in another large company operating in Armenia - ContourGlobal.
In 2017, the Emergency Response Group, composed of our Occupational Safety team members led by Arthur, actively participated in fire suppression activities in Artavan and received many appreciation letters and awards, and Artur received an international rescuer qualification.
Thanks to the experienced, cautious, and responsible work of our young employees, we registered 2 million people/hours of no lost-time injury during the busiest period of construction at Amulsar in 2018. This rate means that the company's employees worked collectively for 2 million hours without any incidents that would have caused an employee to be absent from work or unable to return to their duties.
Even the listed companies in Armenia are unable to ensure such quality, and fatal accidents in mining projects are unfortunately still reported from time to time. This indicator is significant even for experienced international mining companies.
Imagine a land acquisition process in Armenia during the 2010s without any dissatisfaction or conflict. If you think it's not possible, Lydian's community engagement team will prove you wrong with their work. In 2015, we initiated a land acquisition process mainly in the Gndevaz community for the placement of infrastructures for the Amulsar mine. As a result, we acquired 278 plots of land from 145 landowners without any complaints and a court process. The process was led by Aram Parunakyan, one of the “old residents” of Lydian, who joined the company over 13 years ago. Aram, a geologist by profession and a talented musician, was re-profiled and trained as a community involvement specialist in a short time. The work done by Aram is particularly crucial in the field of mining, which he carries out successfully to this day. The residents of the surrounding communities of Amulsar can attest to that.
The land acquisition process carried out by Lydian under the leadership of Aram gained international attention. It was presented as a model guide during a master class organized at the Danish Institute of Human Rights in 2017 and in the summer school of the University of Groningen in 2016.
Lydian beyond the logo
Often, when people form an opinion about a company, they do not see much beyond the logo. However, in reality, a company’s true image and value lie in the people who have built its path. For me, Lydian is represented by individuals whose involvement in the Amulsar project had a transformative impact on their professional growth, work culture, and worldview. I am confident that all our colleagues who have worked at Lydian at different times would confirm this perspective, as we have all been on this path of development together.
Today, I can confidently say that working or having experience at Lydian has become a brand and a benchmark, and it is synonymous with high work culture, great experience, comprehensive knowledge, and competitiveness in the international market.
Whenever I reflect on the work we have accomplished and our successes, I understand how thorough and quality work has been done by our specialists in Amulsar, and how many lives have been transformed by Amulsar.
Hayk Aloyan is the managing director of Lydian Armenia.
These views are his own.
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