ArmInfo. A number of foreign investors have already shown their interest in building copper smelters in Armenia, Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at a hearing on the draft state budget 2019 on November 13.
According to him, the implementation of this project is extremely important for the country, as it will give the opportunity to process the ore on site, and not to export it. In turn, the final product of these industries can find consumers not only abroad, but also in Armenia. However, in this issue, Pashinyan noted, it is necessary to take into account all environmental risks, apply the latest technologies and innovative solutions.
To recall, the government is developing a new strategy for the development of the mining industry. It will have flexible fiscal mechanisms to attract investors, on the one hand, and on the other, strict environmental standards and conditions for disclosing end-beneficiaries and other information about companies operating in this area, in accordance with Armenia's international obligations under the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) , of which the country became a member in 2017.
By the decision of Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Avinyan of July 12 of this year, a working group was established to provide state support to the preparatory work under the program of construction of a new copper smelter. The program can be implemented by the Armenian Copper Program (ACP), which is part of the VallexGroup jointly with Chinese investors. According to preliminary estimates, the investment value of a small-capacity enterprise will be about $ 80 million. The group included representatives of 4 ministries - economic development and investments, nature protection, finance, and energy infrastructures. The work of the enterprise will make it possible to obtain pure copper in Armenia, thanks to which it will be possible at least partially to restore various related production in the country.
Recently, due to gross discrepancies to environmental standards and due to debts, the Alaverdi Copper Smelter, owned by Vallex Group, has ceased to operate. The enterprise was built in the 1950s of the last century, completely outdated and could only produce the so-called blister copper in limited quantities. The project to build a copper smelter has existed in Armenia since the mid-2000s, however, due to the financial crisis of 2008-2009, it had to be closed and the group of specialists dissolved. Then the construction of an enterprise of average capacity was estimated at $ 150 million.