Chinese Mining Company Invests $400 Million

YEREVAN (Interfax Russian News)–MCC–a Chinese state-owned mining company–intends to invest $400 million in the development of nonferrous metal deposits in Armenia’s southeastern Zangezur ore province.

Sergei Hovakimian–the Armenian Ministry of Industry and Trade’s official in charge of mining and metals–told Interfax that a memorandum signed in Yerevan at the end of last week states that MCC will build a facility to mine and mill ores from the Lichka copper- molybdenum field–which contains 214,000 tonnes of copper and 480,000 tonnes of molybdenum–and to build at the site a 25,000 tonne per year copper smelter.

The smelter may also receive concentrate from ores from other fields in the region. The memorandum also provides for the creation of an enterprise to mine gold at the Lichkvaz-Tei and Terterasar deposits–which are close to each other and hold a combined 20 tonnes of gold.

All three deposits are about 350 kilometers southeast of Yerevan and have not previously been developed. They were explored and their reserves counted in the late 1980s.

As reported–the Chinese embassy in Armenia earlier this year presented the Armenian government with a set of proposals on the development of the country’s mining and metals industry–particularly the gold–copper–molybdenum–lead and zinc fields in central and southeastern districts–and the construction of facilities to process them.

The Chinese offered to invest $570 million over three or four years. Foreign companies have shown an interest in most of the properties mentioned in the Chinese proposals–although Armenia’signed an agreement this year on the joint development of the Zod and Meghradzor gold lodes with Canada’s First Dynasty Mines.

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