The Akhtala Mountain Enrichment Combine, owned by Metal Prince Ltd., is goimng through a rough patch.
Its production of copper ore has dropped by 50-60%. This translates into 500-600 tons of total production.
The company took out a $2million loan from Aregsim Bank. The company put up buildings and the enrichment combine as collateral.
Workers at the combine told us that the difficulties stem from management. Serop Der-Boghossian was President of the Board of Metal Prince before being arrested and jailed on paedophilia charges. He turned over the operation to his wife Madeline Tashjian, a psychologist by profession, who has stripped all managers of their powers.
A Hetq source says that Production Manager Lyova Vardanyan will also be fired in a matter of days.
In Akhtala it is no secret that Madeline Boghossian runs her tight ship via her security advisor Grisha Davtyan and Combine Security Chief Arsen Chitchyan.
The same source claims that salaries from mine drillers has dropped from an average of 250 – 300,000 AMD to 100 – 150,000.
Our source says that Madeline Tashjian cooked the books after Hetq wrote about worker complaints regarding non-payment of overtime wages at the beginning of 2012. “Workers had no idea that the documents were altered to show that tey had been paid all their overtime wages,” says the Hetq source.
During our visit, we tried to get some answers from Gagik Shahnazaryants, who heads the Combine’s Public Affairs Division, especially regarding investments the company has made over the past few years.
Shahnazaryants told us that the accountant wasn’t present but promised to provide us with information when he returned.
Shahnazaryants confirmed that the company was trying to restore the equipment it already possessed and that little new had been purchased.