The relations between “Dundee Precious Metals Kapan” company and the Nature Protection Ministry remain tense. We speak about the fine of 380 million AMD imposed by the State Environmental Inspection on the company, which the company didn’t agree with. More details in the interview with Hrach Jabrayan, Director General at “Dundee Precious Metals Kapan”.
EcoLur: In December 2013 you announced the company employees that they couldn’t get any holiday bonuses, as the company had been fined in the amount of US $ 1 million. The examinations were conducted by the State Environmental Inspection of Nature Protection Ministry based on public alarm signals. So far the Ministry hasn’t replied the inquiry about the findings of the examination and the range of the fine. Any comments?
H. J.: The statement made to employers mentioned by you doesn’t comply with reality. The assessment of our employees’ performance is not connected with our external affairs. They are paid based on mine working. What about examinations, the Ministry examined our company for rather long period of time – 70 days. It disturbed out work, though the ministry employees behaved well, the problem is how long they stayed, which hindered the performance of the enterprise. I felt something was wrong. If the inspectors have a certain task, they precisely say what and how, i.e. substantiate their presence and why they arrived to inspect. That’s why I expressed my discontent with Nature Protection Ministry and State Revenue Committee. I asked Minister [Aram Harutyunyan] to receive me, as I can see something is wrong, which I don’t know and want to understand. By the way, I am new director and haven’t ever met the Minister.
In October the fine was impose and the amount of the fine made up 380 million AMD. Certainly I didn’t agree with this fine, as I didn’t know the grounds why such a big fine was imposed and according to which law.
I had a meeting with the Minister and told him I didn’t agree with this decision and the Ministry had a problem, which should be solved. A committee was set up (committee leader – Marzpet Kamalyan, Deputy Head of State Environmental Inspection). Our employees and lawyers were also involved in the committee. It turned out that the examinations in our territory were conducted wrongfully enforcing incorrect articles of law. Eventually, the amount of the fine was reduced up to 30 million AMD.
EcoLur: Weren’t you surprised that the amount of the fine was reduced so significantly – 30 million from 380 million?
H. J.: I was not surprised. The governmental bodies experience many problems and I can’t say that the Syunik Division of State Environmental Inspection worked well here. I am a Canadian Armenian, and our standards are high, here we can’t reach them. Here there is an option available for the employees to work wrongfully or with certain intentions or with personal motives.
EcoLur: That is, you don’t exclude personal attitude towards your company?
H.J.: I don’t exclude anything. I was assaulted as a representative of Diaspora. I don’t want anybody to violate the law, either the company, or governmental employees or ordinary citizens. When our lawyers started looking through the decision, they saw that some articles used against us, are not applicable, as a matter of fact. Thus, the amount was reduced up to 30 million AMD, which we paid still in December 2013.
EcoLur: Every week we receive reports from the Ministry about the findings of the examinations conducted by the State Environmental Inspection and we didn’t see any 30 million AMD in the reports.
H. J.: I don’t know their internal affairs and when they publish what they receive.
EcoLur: We have refused from the agreement with EU and intend to join the Customs Unions. Do you have any concerns that it is political pressure?
H.J.: I try to refrain from politics. I have close people in the government, but these are business relations. I haven’t experienced political pressure and I haven’t even heard about it in the lobbies. Let the government act the way it wants. We don’t have anything in common here, but concerns always exist.
EcoLur: The EBRD stated the bank will support you in case of open pit mining, and the bank representatives visit you. Any results of the negotiations?
H.J.: We don’t have projects supported by the bank. While I am the director here, open pit mining won’t exist. I have already said it and won’t change my words. We have relations with the bank, as Dundee Precious Metals is the bank’s client, and the bank supports projects in other countries. Now no funding is available and we manage with our own forces. If there is a proper project, maybe.
11:36 March 03, 2014