ArmInfo. According to the Assessment report conducted by the World Bank mining industry in Armenia depends on operation of one big company, said Kirsten Hund, Senior Mining Specialist at the World Bank, in this context pointing to Zangezur Copper- Molybdenum Complex. She made the remarks during the event attached to the launch of the Armenia Strategic Mineral Sector Sustainability Assessment, organized by the World Bank.
The expert stressed the strategic importance of the field in terms of attracting foreign investments and providing job places. One of the main challenges the field faces is instability caused by fluctuation of prices on the international markets. The goal of our work is to strengthen the stability of the field, which fuels economic growth of the country, she said. In this light the expert added that there are only some small mining enterprises, which operate at a profit. At the same time Hund stressed the importance of social and environmental challenges.
Davit Harutyunyan, Minister - Chief of Staff of the Armenian Government in his turn stressed the importance of the conducted assessment and stated that a long-term strategy for mining industry development should be created taking into consideration the problems and challenges revealed by the WB. According to him introduction of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) will be the first step. EITI envisages increasing the transparency and improving the quality of the management in mining industries via regular publication of reports, observance of standards and strengthening of institutional potential. At the same time he noted that the mining industry cannot be a basis for stable economic growth without considering the issues of social responsibility and environment protection.
Laura Bailey, World Bank Country Manager for Armenia also delivered a speech during the event. She noted that the WB is currently conducting work with the relevant ministries aimed at improvement of legislation on regulation of the mining industry. She informed that in the last five years, Armenia's mining exports have amounted to approximately USD $500 million annually, making it the country's top sector in terms of export and inflow of foreign exchange. To note, the Government of Armenia requested that the World Bank evaluate the key social and environmental challenges and future opportunities for the mining sector. The Assessment supports the development of a minerals strategy that incorporates international good practices.
According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia the volume of industrial production of Armenia grew by 10% in Jan-Apr 2016 compared to the same period of 2015 (versus 4.2% growth previous year) and totaled 421 bln AMD (864.7 mln USD). The upward trend of the industrial sector of Armenia is supported with significant growth in mining industry, which once again demonstrated growth this time by 21.5% to 77.1 bln AMD, which is lower than the indicator of the previous year (30.9%).