Description of the Mining Sector of Armenia
The metal-mining industry in Armenia has a long history, dating back to the late-eighteenth century, when copper mining began in Alaverdi, Lori marz (province). Copper was also discovered in Kapan in Syunik marz, where mining began in the mid-nineteenth century, and these two marzes continue to be the main focus of the metal-mining industry to this day.
The main metals mined are copper, molybdenum and gold. The main deposits are copper, gold, molybdenum and polymetallic (lead and zinc). Currently the biggest mine is operated by the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine, CJSC (ZCMC), located in Kajaran (Syunik province). ZCMC is a copper-molybdenum deposit that started operations in the middle of the 20th century and, currently, represents more than half of the total output of the sector in the country.
Teghut (a copper-molybdenum mine in Lori province) began operation in 2014 with volumes that is less than the production of Kajaran, while Amulsar (gold quartzite, Vayots Dzor province) is a low content, large volume deposit currently at the construction stage. In the operation stage of this mine the annual production value would be 10 million tons of ore, and the mine operation will last for 10 years.
In total, currently 28 metal mining licenses have been identified as valid. 7 companies were active in 2016-2017, in the sense that there was production. However, “active” can be a misleading term, since a mine which has not reached the production stage may have many employees and therefore appear in the top 1000 taxpayers while at the same time having no production data. This is the case with Lydian International, developer/operator of the Amulsar mine.
The non-metal mining sector is significant in terms of the number of operations (more than 400 permits), but the vast majority are low volume quarries. Production is much less than during the Soviet period, as it mainly focuses on meeting local demand for construction materials, and there is little export.