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 Thursday, May 24 2018 15:50

GeoProMining: Criminal elements in Armenia hinder the activity of  large Russian investors

GeoProMining: Criminal elements in Armenia hinder the activity of  large Russian investors

ArmInfo. GeoProMining Gold, which develops the Sotq  deposits in Armenia and owns the Ararat gold recovery plant, as well  as the Agarak Copper Molybdenum Combine, reports a production stop at  Sotq. As company explained, the reason for that were the actions of a  group of third parties.

In particular, on May 17-18, and also from May 22 to the present, a  group of people consisting of local criminal elements, motivating  their actions with political and nationalist slogans, blocked the  entry and exit from the Sot` quarry and access of equipment to the  station of fuels and lubricants. Protesters also blocked the road  leading to the Sotq-Ararat railway line, through which the daily  transportation of ore from the Sotq deposit to the Ararat factory is  carried out. The stoppage of production at the deposit resulted in a  stoppage of Sotq-Ararat railway line operated by South Caucasus  Railways and providing about half of its revenues.  In these  conditions, GeoProMining Gold is forced to stop production, incl. the  Ararat gold recovery plant.

According to the source, people engaged in sabotage of production at  the mine face various ultimatum nationalist demands and subject the  company's management and employees to threats and blackmail. But the  real motivation of the protesters lies in the requirement to the  management of GeoProMining Gold to allow access to the mine's  territory for illegal gold mining organized by the criminal  community.

The Company's repeated appeals to the RA Police Department with a  request to resolve the situation with illegal obstruction of the  Company's normal operation did not lead to results. The police  motivates their inaction by the fact that the protests are of a  peaceful nature and law enforcement bodies are not entitled to do  anything in this situation. The real result of blackmail of criminal  elements in the event of government inaction is the stopping of  enterprises, the loss of wages by the workers, and the state's taxes  on profits, extraction of minerals, social deductions to budgets of  all levels of the RA, deterioration of the investment climate in the  country.

"We consider it necessary to recall that in 2007 the Group of  GeoPromining acquired this production complex in a deplorable state  with debts to the state and the staff. In 10 years of work in  Armenia, the Company invested in the modernization and development of  the enterprise more than $ 505 million, becoming one of the largest  Russian investors in the economy of Armenia. As a result, to date,  the workforce of the Company has more than 2,000 people, and taxes  paid to the budget of Armenia exceed $ 200 million. Only in 2017,  GeoProMining paid out about $ 27 million to the state budget and  ranked among the top five taxpayers of the country. GeoProMining  expresses concern over the threat to the physical safety of its  employees and calls on the Government of Armenia and power structures  to stand up for the interests of the state and foreign investors  fulfilling their financial obligations to the RA and ensuring  implementation of social programs on the ground. The company counts  on the assistance of the state and the organization of urgent  measures to ensure conditions for unhindered and uninterrupted work  of industrial enterprises of the Group," the statement reads. 

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