ArmInfo. The main requirement of the employees of the Alaverdi copper smelter is to ensure the continued operation of the plant, regardless of the question of its ownership. They stated this on October 19 in the evening at a meeting with the head of the staff of the acting head. Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Avinyan - Varag Siseryan.
According to the plant’s employees, who are led by Tigran Avinyan’s office, in the event of the possible closure of the Alaverdi smelter, about 630 employees will lose their jobs, which will lead to a sharp deterioration in the social situation in the city.
Varag Siserian noted that Avinyan’s office is in constant contact with the plant’s management and is now searching for solutions to continue the work of the enterprise. "On Monday, the meeting will be held between Acting Deputy Prime Minister Togran Avinyan and Chairman of the Vallex Group of Companies Valery Mejlumyan, which is expected to clarify the direction in which further work will be carried out," the report said. Varag Siserian also noted that regardless of the solution to the problem, it is necessary to work on attracting new investments and creating opportunities to create new jobs and sustainable development of regional, urban and rural communities.
Meanwhile, as Oleg Dulgaryan, a member of the SOS Alaverdi initiative, said in an interview with ArmInfo, employees of the Alaverdi Copper Smelter believe that the meeting result was positive for them. Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan and Head of Vallex Group of Companies Valery Mejlumyan. Today, as Dulgaryan pointed out, there is no complete information regarding the shutdown of the plant. A few days ago, the management of the plant, without premature warning of employees, announced that the plant technically no longer works. At this stage, two reasons for stopping the operation of the enterprise are discussed - environmental and financial, but none of them has been officially confirmed by the management of the enterprise. "Even on October 1, during public hearings, I asked the management of the company whether the company could become the property of VTB, to which he was given a negative answer, but already on October 8 it became obvious that such risks are outlined, because the media was confused with information that the plant has already passed into the ownership of the bank. So, in this case there are a lot of ambiguities, "he said. According to Dulgaryan, it is noteworthy that many residents of Alaverdi, who previously supported environmental compliance, are ready to forget about it for a while, if only the employees of the company have not lost their jobs. As for the position of the employees of the plant, then, according to a member of the initiative, their requirement for today is strictly social - not to lose the job in order to be able to feed the family. What environmental tasks this is fraught with, or who will manage the enterprise, is a matter of secondary importance for them. Recall that on October 19, the leadership of the Alaverdi Copper Smelter announced that the plant technically no longer works. In protest, employees of the plant blocked the interstate M6 road leading to the Armenian-Georgian border and railway tracks. Employees of the company previously sent an open letter to the Prime Minister of Armenia with a request to assist in resolving the issue, noting that "otherwise they will be forced to take sharp and unpredictable actions that can be viewed as steps against the government."
Earlier it was reported that the State Inspectorate for Environmental Protection fined the plant for 380 million drams ($ 700 thousand) because of a serious violation of environmental legislation, adopted in 2005. The head of the plant, Lusine Mejlumyan, said that the practical impossibility of fulfilling the requirements of the environmental inspectorate requirements brings to the agenda the question of the shutdown of the plant. The problem is complicated by the fact that the property complex of the enterprise is in collateral for a loan of $ 500 million received earlier from VTB Bank for the development of a large Teghout copper-molybdenum deposit, the operation of which was also terminated due to environmental problems even last year after the suspension of co-financing by one from overseas lenders. Under these conditions, servicing a VTB loan becomes extremely unaffordable for an enterprise and a serious decline in the level of profitability of the Alaverdi plant, in fact, may lead to its bankruptcy.