Saturday, 22 September

An Apple of Discord Beneath Hankavan



We have reported recently that the Minister of Nature Protection has given several deposits with total mineral resource content of about 3 billion tons to members of his own family and is now trying to sell them off.

To compare, the approved mineral reserves of the Kajaran mine, which is the largest Armenian deposit, make up 450 million tons. The Kajaran mine was sold through an international tender at a price of $US 120 million.

Minister of Nature Protection Vardan Ayvazyan has a special fondness for Armenia's gold deposits. This attitude was especially clear on December 19, 2005, when he issued seven geological exploration licenses simultaneously to Interior Ltd established by his assistant, Tigran Krmoyan. Krmoyan was the minister's aid until October 6, 2006. Currently he manages the Ayvazyan's mineral and non-mineral resources, including his real estate business.

Interior Ltd is unique among companies granted license for geological investigation. The licenses for all seven sites were granted to Interior Ltd on the same day; i.e. there was no desire at all to issue licenses on different dates. The license agreements were signed the next day, December 20, 2005.

All seven licenses for geological exploration were granted to Interior Ltd until September 30, 2008

Organization

Location, Type and term of the license

Registration address

Founders and their addresses

Interior Ltd.

Kotayk Marz, License for exploring the Hankavan Ore Field, Batsat Lich site, December 19, 2005-September 30, 2008

Yerevan, 
54 Komitas Street

Ibraruri Atenesyan, Armen Bunatyan, Tigran Krmoyan (assistant to the minister of Nature Protection).

Interior Ltd.

Kotayk Marz, License for exploring the Hankavan Ore Field, Sarnakhbyour site.

¨¨¨¨¨

¨¨¨¨¨

Interior Ltd.

Kotayk Marz, License for exploring the Hankavan Ore Field, Tsits Kar site.

¨¨¨¨¨

¨¨¨¨¨

Interior Ltd.

Kotayk Marz, License for exploring the Hankavan Ore Field, Aya Pavle site.

¨¨¨¨¨

¨¨¨¨¨

Nagin, Ltd.

Kotayk Marz, License for exploring the Megradzor Ore Field, Zar site.

¨¨¨¨¨

¨¨¨¨¨

Interior Ltd.

Kotayk Marz, License for exploring the Megradzor Ore Field, Arjasar site.

¨¨¨¨¨

¨¨¨¨¨

Interior Ltd.

Kotayk Marz, License for exploring the Megradzor Ore Field, Nor site.

¨¨¨¨¨

¨¨¨¨¨


It is interesting to note that SHA Ltd had already been granted the right to geological exploration of the areas adjoining the village of Hankavan in the Kotayk Marz on December 19, 2005 when Interior Ltd was granted the seven licenses for geological exploration of the same area, although the law prohibits issuance of double licenses for the same area. SHA Ltd was bought by the American Global Gold Corporation, which means that the international treaty on mutual protection of investments signed between Armenia and the US is applicable in respect to SHA Ltd.

This American company has made investments and conducted exploration at those sites since 2004. i.e. for three years. Meanwhile Interior Ltd, which actually belongs to the Minister, neither conducts nor is going to conduct any works at those sites, as it hasn't incurred any required mobilization expenses based on the data of tax authorities.

Minister Ayvazyan has declared many times that Global Gold Corporation hasn't conducted any work and therefore he has terminated that company's license. However, Global Gold Mining has made substantial investments in the exploration of those sites according to the data of the same tax authorities, bringing in competent foreign companies to assist in the work. The minister made no reference to the lack of work by companies that he owns, including Interior Ltd.

One of our sources in the Ministry of Nature Protection informed us that Ayvazyan is currently negotiating with one of the foreign companies operating in Georgia to sell the mines granted to Interior Ltd. The price set by the minister is in the tens of millions this time.

It's difficult to say whether making these facts public will change anything in this sector. But it is well known that Global Gold Corporation has brought an action against the Government of the Republic of Armenia in the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, for granting its licenses to other companies and on other grounds, as provided for by the international treaty signed between the two countries. It is clear that the Republic of Armenia is in a difficult position, but Vardan Ayvazyan will not be the loser.


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