During the election campaign in Lori Region, RA Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had a meeting with Alaverdi residents and presented the situation around Teghout mine and Alaverdi copper smelting combine.
“I do know there are speculations around these topics and I do want everything to be clear and transparent,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
Around Teghout copper and molybdenum mine
“Teghout mine started its operation with the involvement of a loan of 380 million USD from the VTB Bank. Teghout started its operation and it was found out in January-February this year there is a problem with the dam of the tailing dump, there is a crack. Under such conditions, it was necessary to recover this dam to continue the operation of Teghout mine. Not having enough funds the company attempted to take out a new loan and, in parallel, as it stopped the mining operation, couldn’t serve the loan received from the VTB Bank. Besides that, the company was not able to take out a new loan to have the dam repaired for which rather a large amount money was necessary, if I’m not mistaken, we speak about 10-14 million USD. The company was not able to take out a loan from another bank, as both Teghout, and copper smelting plant and another mine owned by the same company (note by EcoLur: Vallex Group) were pledged in the VTB Bank against US$ 380 million. From the very first day, the problem was to convince the VTB to grant the loan necessary to repair the dam. But the Bank rejected substantiating it with a loan of US$ 380 million which can’t be served and in case of a new loan, the debt will get huger and the money won’t be paid back.
The government has invited the representatives of the VTB Bank, Vallex Company and asked them to negotiate with each other and to find a solution, as the problem is really important. As a result, Teghout mine was passed under the control of the VTB Bank. We have obligated the bank to involve a new operator which will develop Teghout mine. Now the bank and Russian businessman of Armenian origin Norik Petrosyan have undertaken this business and promised that Teghout will continue its mining operations.
Without the rehabilitation of the dam, it is not possible to operate the tailing dump and, currently, certain time will be required to repair the dam. There an investment of around US $10-14 million shall be made: if the dam is recovered and the mine starts its operation, Mr. Petrosyan promised that the mine will start its operations as soon as possible involving not only previous workforce, but also more people,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
On Alaverdi Copper Smelting Plant
“Some people tried to leave the impression that the copper smelting plant had been closed as a result of the inspection carried out by Environmental and Mining Inspection Body. It doesn’t comply with the reality at all, as the stoppage of the copper smelting plant is related to the change in the status of Teghout. The copper smelting plant is also pledged. There is a subtle thing: for the operation of the copper smelting plant to be profitable, the same company shall have a mine, its own raw materials so as to be able to operate it.
Teghout has already been alienated from Vallex Group, but there is another mine, which is also pledged and this mine, as a matter of fact, shall also be handed to the VTB Bank.
Either the copper smelting plant and other mine continue being owned by Vallex Group and operate in the same manner, or the copper smelting plant and mine are also handed to the Bank or “Russian Copper Smelting Company” tries to operate it.
We have only one requirement posed in front of Mr. Petrosyan: to have so many working places in Teghout that even if the story connected with the copper smelting plant is adjourned, all the employees of the copper smelting plant can be employed in Teghout so as not to have anyone deprived of their work. We are not owners anywhere. There isn’t any document which I can sign to solve this problem,” the Acting PM noted.
Nikol Pashinyan added that, currently, there are two investment proposals on constructing a new copper smelting plant in Armenia: one is Chinese, second is Italian.
17:30 November 28, 2018