The U.S. consortium RV Investment Group Services and the Azerbaijani state company Azergyzyl signed yesterday in the presidential palace in Baku a contract to mine metal ores in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani president Haidar Aliev and RVIGS chairman of the board John Sununu, former White House chief of staff, remarked at the signing ceremony that the contract marks a breakthrough in terms of channeling Western investment toward Azerbaijan’s non-oil economy and in the country’s interior, as distinct from the Caspian continental shelf.
Azergyzyl will hold 51 percent and RVIGS 49 percent of the joint venture’s stock. The contract envisages $500 million worth of investment over a 25-year period to extract 400 tons of gold, 2,500 tons of silver, and 1.5 million tons of copper and other nonferrous ores from nine deposits located in western and southwestern Azerbaijan. The project will directly create some 10,000 new jobs at the sites.
Three of the deposits are located in areas occupied by Karabakh Armenian forces in Azerbaijan proper, outside Karabakh. The joint venture plans to mine those deposits after the resolution of the conflict. Operations at the other deposits are to begin immediately. (Turan, Western agencies, August 20)
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