ArmInfo. The issue of building a new copper smelting complex in Armenia is on the agenda of the RA government. This was stated by Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan on November 20 in an interview with reporters.
According to him, negotiations with the Chinese company are ongoing, and the Chinese company, according to preliminary agreement, is planning a visit to Armenia. "In general, the issue of building a new copper smelting complex is on our agenda, since the one in Alaverdi is inefficient, very problematic from an environmental point of view. And what is being discussed now has almost nothing to do with prior practice'', said Avinyan.
At the end of October this year Deputy Prime Minister's office announced that Citic, a Chinese company, was interested in a project to build a new smelter in Alaverdi, equipped with new technologies that would almost completely neutralize emissions, and was ready to discuss further details. This became known as a result of the visit of the Armenian delegation, headed by the head of the office of the RA Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, Serge Varak Sisserian to the Chinese company Citic.
According to the source, it was agreed that in the near future the delegation of the Chinese company will visit Yerevan to continue negotiations. To note, Citic or formerly the China International Trust Investment Corporation is one of China's largest state-owned investment corporations, which was founded in 1979. The company conducts activities in the field of financial services, resources, energy, manufacturing, engineering, real estate, etc.
Meanwhile, in July this year Vallex Group of Companies issued a statement in which it welcomed the statement of the lawmaker from the ruling bloc "My Step" Aren Mkrtchyan, made at a parliamentary hearing on July 19 that VTB Bank was ready to donate to the Armenian state the property complex of the Alaverdi plant, which was transferred to the bank as collateral.
It should be noted that the property complex of the Alaverdi smelter producing crude copper is secured by a VTB Bank loan of $ 380 million, which was granted to the Vallex group of companies for the development of the large Teghout copper-molybdenum deposit, which was discontinued due to environmental problems as early as last year after the suspension of co-financing by one of the foreign lenders. In these conditions, credit servicing became extremely unbearable for the group.
Moreover, at the beginning of this year, the blast furnaces of the Alaverdi enterprise itself were also extinguished due to serious environmental risks. Previously, the company worked to circumvent stringent environmental rules through informal agreements with relevant government agencies to ensure the production and export of blister copper and to preserve jobs. However, the new government, worried about risks, set stringent conditions and the company had to be stopped.
Information appeared on the market that the Teghout copper-molybdenum mine was already sold by the bank or transferred to the management of the investor in the person of the Russian Copper Company, one of the shareholders of which is Russian businessman Norayr Petrosyan. After resolving the issue of neutralizing the environmental risks associated with strengthening the tailings dam, the field, around which disputes have not subsided for many years, will be re-activated.
To recall, the Vallex Group CJSC was established in 1998 and until recently had united 20 subsidiary and affiliated companies. Among them were Teghout CJSC, founded in May 2006, 100% of the shares belonged to the Cypriot Teghut Investments Limited, 100% of the voting shares of which in turn were controlled by the Armenian Copper Program CJSC (ACP), wholly owned by the group's president Valery Mejlumyan , as well as Base Metals, which operates a copper-gold deposit in the village of Drmbon, Martakert region of the NKR. ACP also operated the Alaverdi Copper Smelter, where raw materials from the group's fields were delivered for rough processing.
Over the past 2-3 years, the Vallex Group has been negotiating with Chinese investors to create a new, modern, environmentally friendly metallurgical enterprise on the site of the old Alaverdi plant, which has 200 years of history. However, the results of the negotiations are not yet known. It is only known that by the decision of the Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Avinyan on July 12 last year, a working group was created to provide state support to the preparatory work as part of the program for the construction of a new smelter by the Armenian Copper Program CJSC. It was reported that the composition of the working group has already been approved, which will be headed by the head of the office of Avinyan Varag Sisserian. It included representatives of 4 ministries - Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Investment Avag Avanesyan, Deputy Minister of Nature Protection Gnel Sanosyan, Deputy Minister of Finance Arman Poghosyan and Deputy Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources Vardan Gevorgyan. ArmInfo has not yet succeeded in attempts to verify the accuracy of the information and find out the details of the negotiations.