YEREVAN, Armenia – The American University of Armenia (AUA) has launched the Center for Responsible Mining (AUA CRM), the first such center in the country and the region. The AUA Center for Responsible Mining will offer multi-disciplinary capacities in research, analysis, and expertise on environmentally, socially, and economically responsible mining.

The AUA Center for Responsible Mining is the culmination of the work conducted by the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment (AUA ACE) in exploring environmental issues in mining communities, including the pioneering research done by AUA ACE in the 1990s and early 2000′s on heavy metal pollution in Armenia. AUA ACE’s more recent activities included more than two years of intensive work in collaboration with the AUA School of Public Health (AUA SPH) in organizing international conferences and workshops addressing environmental, social, health, economic, and policy impact of mining in Armenia and conducting assessments of mining-related environmental health risks and economic consequences.

“We decided to launch this Center to offer Armenia the institutional capacity to develop and adapt policies, technologies, and know-how on environmentally, socially, and economically responsible mining,” says AUA President Dr. Bruce M. Boghosian. He explains that while Armenia has a long history and ample knowledge in metallurgy and mining technology, with private investments bringing more, there is a gap in knowledge and expertise in mining that is done responsibly.

There is a wide variety of work in which the AUA Center for Responsible Mining will assist Armenia. It will serve as a policy and legislative watchdog, conduct economic research and analysis to guide mining policies and programs, undertake legislative and policy reform initiatives, monitor the environmental and public health impacts of legacy mines as well as new mining activity, and bring and develop knowledge on site re-cultivation and reclamation. 

“Importantly, it can create a platform for government, industry, and civil society to critically discuss responsible mining policies and practices,” says Alen Amirkhanian, director of the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. “In creating the AUA Center for Responsible Mining, we’ve been inspired by the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) at the Queensland University in Australia,” says Amirkhanian. “Dr. Saleem Ali, of SMI’s Center for Social Responsibility in Mining [and the keynote speaker at AUA’s mining conference in November 2012, click here for link] has been an invaluable source of guidance and advice.”

Amirkhanian, who spearheaded the creation of the AUA Center for Responsible Mining, will serve as the interim director until the position is filled with the best qualified candidate identified through an international search. 

For more information about the AUA Center for Responsible Mining, please email crm@aua.am.