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Swedish Experts Lead a Three-Day Seminar at the AUA Center for Responsible Mining

YEREVAN, Armenia – On February 11-13, 2019, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Center for Responsible Mining organized a professional development seminar titled “Legal and Political Preconditions of Mining: Learning from the Swedish Experience.” The purpose of the seminar was to introduce government officials, academics, and civil society to the Swedish approaches of regulating and governing mining. Over 50 people attended the event.

The seminar was led by faculty and researchers from the Luleå University of Technology in Sweden, a preeminent university in Europe on mining-related topics. It featured five presentations by Professor Maria Pettersson, Associate Professor Lars Bäckström, and Post-Doctoral Researcher Gregory Poelzer. Topics discussed included the relationship of property to mining rights, mineral exploration and extraction concessions, environmental assessment and licensing, the role of bureaucrats in mining projects, and public acceptance of mining.

“Sweden has a long history of mining and a long history of peace – two factors that have enabled the development of an institutional framework that can both set high demands for the mining industry and facilitate the use of new technology to promote sustainable development also in the mining sector,” said Dr. Pettersson. “With the experiences from Sweden, in terms of both institutional (laws and policies) and technological development and adaptation, as a starting point, we think that collaboration involving academia, politics and not least civil society could be of great benefit for Armenian development towards sustainable mining.”

Alen Amirkhanian, director of the AUA Center for Responsible Mining, added: “One of the main achievements in Sweden is creating a high entry barrier to start a mining operation. We’ve learned during the seminar that for any new mining proposal to be even considered, they would need to demonstrate that they have at least 25 years of reserves. They look at mining as a long-term investment with many multiplier effects for the country and ensure a system that provides occupational, public, and environmental safety.”

Additionally, one of the main purposes of the visit by Luleå University colleagues was to explore collaboration opportunities with AUA and other Armenian academic institutions on mining-related education, training, and capacity building. “We held meetings with many stakeholders to understand ways in which enhanced academic capacity can help improvements in the sector,” said Amirkhanian.

The financial support of the Embassy of Sweden in Yerevan enabled Luleå University of Technology faculty’s visit to Armenia.

More information on the seminar can be found here.

The American University of Armenia (AUA) Center for Responsible Mining promotes the creation as well as transfer and adoption of best practices in socially, environmentally, and economically responsible mining in Armenia. The AUA Center for Responsible Mining works with companies, civil society, and the public sector to achieve this goal.

Media Coverage:

[Civilnet] Sweden, an Example of Responsible Mining

[EVN Report] Learning Responsible Mining: The Swedish Experience

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