The existing 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 AUA Center for Responsible Mining’s MLRI will identify these gaps and through a multi-year effort work 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. MLRI will also provide an ongoing watchdog function in alerting citizens on mining-related legislative changes that may be to public detriment. The expected duration of the Initiative is 2-3 years. 

AUA Center for Responsible Mining Launches Legislation Reform Initiative 

YEREVAN, Armenia – In November 2014, The American University of Armenia (AUA)’s Center for Responsible Mining launched a new project called the Mining Legislation Reform Initiative (MLRI), which is made possible through founding support from the Tufenkian Foundation. MLRI is a multi-year effort to ensure that mining in Armenia provides sufficient benefits to the country and local communities. The initiative involves drafting and passing legislation that elevates the socio-economic benefits of mining, while reducing the negative environmental and public health impacts.

A key component of the MLRI will be collaborating and partnering with civil society, advocacy groups, academic institutions, and relevant national and international organizations. MLRI will work with the key governmental and legislative bodies in getting the draft legislation passed into law. 
One of AUA’s first steps for ensuring the success of the initiative was hiring Mr. Garen Nazarian to manage the project. Before joining AUA, Mr. Nazarian was a fellow with Armenia’s Ministry of Justice for two years, which was sponsored by Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles and aimed at legislative reforms in the justice sector. Mr. Nazarian worked as a trial attorney for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office before moving to Armenia in 2012.

MLRI Hires International Mining Tax Expert

One of the central goals of the Mining Legislation Reform Initiative (MLRI), a project of AUA Center for Responsible Mining, is to ensure mining in Armenia provides sufficient economic benefit to the country and local communities, outweighing the costs and burdens imposed by mining activity.  Thus, it is essential that the financial mechanisms utilized by the government to receive revenues from mining companies allow for maximum economic benefit, both in the short and long term. In a first major step towards achieving this goal, MLRI has hired international mining tax expert Matthew Genasci to conduct a thorough analysis of Armenia’s mining fiscal system. Mr. Genasci will provide legal and economic analysis of Armenia’s current mining fiscal structure, compare it to those utilized in other countries, regionally and internationally, and recommend legislative and policy changes to make Armenia’s mining fiscal system more robust, resilient and economically beneficial to the country. Please read Mr. Genasci’s biography for a more detailed account of his experience and expertise.