8:23 28/11/2012 " ECONOMY

International and local experts will gather in Yerevan on November 30
for a one-day conference examining mining and socio-economic policy
in Armenia, the American University of Armenia reports.

AUA is organizing an event that aims to assess the choices available
to Armenia as it seeks to balance economic gains with that of social
equity and environmental health. The conference will be held in AUA's
Manoogian Hall, from 9:30am-5:30pm (Yerevan time). It will livestream
online at

Over the past decade, the Armenian Government has made mining a
priority for Armenia's economic growth. However, no serious public
debate has occurred to examine policy choices available to Armenia
regarding mining. With this conference, AUA hopes to begin such a
critical public discourse, bringing together experts from across the
world to present their analyses and discuss socio-economic policy
choices available to Armenia.

The day-long conference will begin with the keynote speaker Dr. Saleem
Ali, Director of the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining at
the University of Queensland, Australia. Dr. Ali will talk about
international experience in the role of mining in economic growth
and social development. Following this presentation, experts will
briefly present a statistical overview of mining in Armenia. The event
will then hold three panel discussions focused on Armenia. The first
panel will examine whether mining can play a key role in Armenia's
economic growth, while the second panel will focus on mining's impact
on Armenia's environmental and public health. The third and last panel
will explore whether Armenia's legal and institutional framework on
mining fosters socio-economic development.

These issues will be discussed against the larger backdrop of a growing
unease in and outside Armenia on the potential benefits and risks of
mining to the country's socio-economic and environmental future. Thus
far, the social, environmental and public health concerns have been
overshadowed by the argument that Armenia does not have many choices
and mining will be the growth engine of its emerging economy.

In the past two decades, however, there have been many constructive
developments around mining in the international arena. The industry as
a whole has improved its practices, while international organizations
and governments have adopted standards for environmentally cleaner
and socially more equitable mining.

This conference aims to become a model for a constructive and
high-impact way in which AUA can contribute to public-policy
debates in Armenia. The day-long event is open to the public. The
presentations and discussions of the conference will also be made
available on YouTube post event. For more information and updates