Armenia to sell copper mine by end 2004

Armenia to sell copper mine by end 2004

15.04.2004 12:09:00 GMT

Yerevan. (Interfax) – Armenia plans to sell the zangezur Copper-Molybdenum
Combine by the end of this year, Ashot Shakhnazarian, a first deputy
trade and economic development minister, told Interfax.

A tender called in March has drawn interest from leading international
companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP and Glencore Interm, and Russia’s
RusAl and Norilsk Nickel.

Shakhnazarian said the deadline for submitting bids would be in
September. Although Armenia is offering up to 75% of the Zangezur
plant’s shares at the tender, the government will agree to sell all of
the stock to an investor that makes the right offer, he said.

The Zangezur combine is profitable, Shakhnazarian said. Last year, its
net profits topped $7 million.

The government expects to raise at least $130 million from the sale of
the shares and licenses to the Kadjaran field, which contains the
FSUTs biggest molybdenum reserves. Shakhnazarian said he did not
consider the price to betoo high in view of current metal prices.

The government will require the Zangezur plantTs new owner to triple
or even quintuple output to 30 million-40 million tonnes of ore per
year and to implement new, more environmentally-friendly mining

Zangezur obtained 6,300 tonnes of molybdenum concentrate and 11,000
tonnes of copper in copper concentrate from 8.1 million tonnes of ore
in 2003.