Azerbaijan, AzerGold begins mining at Tulallar gold deposit

Azerbaijan’s AzerGold CJSC has began mining on the Tulallar gold deposit, positioned on the executive territory of the Goygol district, Trend reviews.

The first mountaintop elimination course of on the gold deposit was held on one of the vital important days for the firm – February 11, 2023, on the eighth anniversary of the basis of the joint-stock firm by the decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

The Tulallar gold deposit was found through the Soviet interval however has not been extensively explored. Since 2017, the corporate’s geologists have performed intensive analysis, and in 2022, Micon International Co. Limited’s worldwide authoritative marketing consultant initially permitted reserves of 298,000 ounces of gold in the earth’s bowels and 85,000 ounces as recoverable quantity. At the second, the deposit is on the state stability sheet.

In normal, the commissioning of the deposit could have a optimistic affect on the rise in employment by creating new jobs within the area. In addition, this can result in the event of Azerbaijan’s non-oil sector and additional enchancment of the welfare of the inhabitants of Dashkasan and Goygol districts.

The Tulallar deposit is the fourth gold deposit placed on fee by the AzerGold CJSC. The deposit is geared toward increasing the quantity of the extractive business, turning the wealthy mineral useful resource potential of the republic into sustainable improvement, and contributing to the socio-economic improvement of the nation.

Considering that the talked about deposit is the primary a part of the Chovdar Integrated Regional Processing Site, the work carried out as a complete will make a further contribution to making certain the sustainability of the socio-economic progress of the Ganja-Dashkasan financial area by rising the life cycle of the regional processing website, Business Lend reports.

Anglo Asian Mining announced the start of an expansion of its flotation plant

Anglo Asian Mining, a gold, copper and silver producer focused on Azerbaijan, today announced the start of an expansion of its flotation plant, which will be doubled in capacity, and provide additional operational flexibility.

The company said that the expansion forms part of Anglo Asian’s increase in throughput capacity to process ore from new mines in the short and medium term.

“This will begin with Zafar, which is due to commence production in H2 2023. It will support the company’s ambition to become a mid-tier miner producing over 100,000 gold equivalent ounces per annum,” Anglo Asian noted in a statement.

Anglo Asian’s flotation plant opened in 2015 to produce copper concentrate as the company was mining ore with increasing amounts of copper. The flotation plant is located at its Gedabek site, next to its agitation leaching plant.

According to the company’s statement, the expansion of the flotation plant will double its capacity from 80 to 160 tonnes per hour from Q3 2023.

CEO Reza Vaziri commented, “Anglo Asian is at the beginning of its next phase of growth, as we prepare to bring a number of new mines into production. The development of our medium-term growth strategy is well underway and we need to increase our processing capabilities to accommodate additional ore production.

“This expansion is an important step in the company’s preparation for our new mines entering production. The mine design at Zafar is well advanced and production will commence in H2 2023. This increase in production capacity is a critical part in enabling Anglo Asian to achieve mid-tier production status in due course.”

Anglo Asian Mining is a gold, copper and silver producer in Central Asia with a broad portfolio of production and exploration assets in Azerbaijan. The company produced 64,610 gold equivalent ounces for the year ended 31 December 2021, Kitco writes.

Armenia’s environmental crimes committed in Azerbaijani lands are said to cause $285 billion in damages

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev vowed to start legal proceedings at international courts to demand compensation for the damage and ecological terror committed by Armenians in the once occupied Azerbaijani territories.

The announcement was made at a video meeting with the newly appointed special representative of the Azerbaijani president in the Zangilan district.

The president outlined deforestation, illegal exploitation of gold reserves, and contamination of rivers as one of the ultimate examples of the environmental terror conducted by Armenians.

“Fifty to sixty thousand hectares of forest have been completely destroyed. We observed this via satellite. A process of deliberate deforestation was underway, especially in Kalbajar, Lachin, Zangilan and Gubadli districts. This, in fact, is savagery and looting,” President Aliyev was quoted as saying by his official website.

According to him, the world’s second-largest sycamore forest in Zangilan suffered seriously from deliberate deforestation and arson, which were also observed in the Kalbajar and Lachin districts even after the war in 2020. Moreover, the Okhchu River and the Vejnali gold deposit in Zangilan were also subjected to large-scale ecological terror and illegal exploitation.

“The illegal exploitation of the Vejnali gold deposit by foreigners, including foreigners of Armenian origin, will cost them dearly. We know the names of those people. We will expose them to the world and they will compensate us. They will definitely pay compensation for the damage,” President Aliyev said.

“We have now started all the legal procedures … Not a single crime will go unanswered. First, we are calculating all the damage, the process of passportization of all our cities and villages is underway. Video and photos of each building or the ruins of that building are being taken. This is proof, and we intend to appeal to international courts. Preparations are underway.”

According to the preliminary estimates, the amount of material damage caused by Armenians to Azerbaijan’s infrastructure, resources, and citizens totals $818 billion. The environmental crimes caused $285 billion in damages.

The Azerbaijani authorities have repeatedly voiced the unprecedented systematic deforestation activities in the Karabakh region, calling for an international investigation into the issue.

Meanwhile, five gold deposits and other natural resources of Azerbaijan in the once occupied territories have been intensively looted by the local Armenian companies and those invited from overseas. Companies such as Vallex Group, First Dynasty Mines, Base Metals, Lydian International, GeoProMining, Vedanta Group, and the Armenian-descent businessmen and entrepreneurs had been involved in illegal mining operations in the Azerbaijani lands. The Franck Muller luxury watch manufacturer company owned by a Swiss tycoon of Armenian origin, Vartan Sirmakes, used gold from the Soyudlu and the Vejnali deposits of Azerbaijan in the production of Frank Muller watches. Sirmakes has reportedly exploited gold worth $302 million.

The contamination of the Okhchu river, one of the eleven rivers of Azerbaijan in the Karabakh region, which is home to more than 30 percent of the country’s overall drinking water reserves, has also been a great concern for the Azerbaijani authorities over the years.

Baku blamed the Armenian authorities for not preventing the pollution of the river, the water of which is not used in Armenia and flows into Azerbaijan’s agriculturally important Araz River. The Okhchu river is said to be used as a “collector” by Armenia’s producers for sending away the industrial wastes from the country’s territory and causing agricultural, environmental, and humanitarian disasters in Azerbaijan. The analysis of the samples taken from the Okhchu river revealed many life-threatening elements in the water, including copper, molybdenum, manganese, iron, zinc, and chromium. According to the examination results, the amount of nickel in the river was seven times, iron four times, and copper-molybdenum two times higher than normal, Caspian News writes.

Anglo Asian Mining PLC said the government of Azerbaijan granted it access to the Zangilan district

Anglo Asian Mining PLC (AIM:AAZ, OTC:AGXKF) said the government of Azerbaijan granted it access to the Zangilan district, an area previously held by Armenia, enabling the AIM-listed company to assess its Vejnaly asset.

Senior management, including chief executive Reza Vaziri, will travel to Zangilan in early December to assess the Vejnaly contract area, including the existing mines at the site.

The mineral-rich district in the south west of Azerbaijan was occupied by Armenia between 1994 and October 2020 and the Vejnaly contract area, which contains the Vejnaly gold deposit, was mined during this time.

The assessment is the first stage in the development of the asset. The company said it hopes to begin exploration and processing of ore from Vejnaly in the near future.

The government of Azerbaijan is undertaking rapid economic and infrastructure development of the Zangilan district following the end of the conflict with Armenia, the company said. Construction of an international airport is due to be completed in 2022 and an electrical substation has recently been opened in the district.

As part of the assessment of Vejnaly, existing stockpiles will be surveyed and samples collected for analysis. Some entrances to the underground mine will be surveyed and existing camp facilities will be inspected. Conditions permitting, an inspection of the underground mine is also planned.


Anglo Asian Mining agreed terms with the Azerbaijan government over three huge new copper concessions

The Garadagh porphyry deposit alone contains over 300,000 tonnes of copper with an in-situ value of over US$3.0bn at current prices

Anglo Asian Mining agreed terms with the Azerbaijan government over three huge new copper concessions in the country.

The new concessions, with a combined area of 882 square kilometres, will be immediately effective following ratification by the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

In a statement, Anglo Asian said it was a transformational milestone with the Garadagh porphyry deposit alone containing over 300,000 tonnes of copper with an in-situ value of over US$3.0bn at current prices.

The company said it is currently evaluating how best to exploit the economically mineable copper resources contained within the new concessions, which have considerable synergies and geographical proximity with it existing mining properties.

Two of the new concessions border the existing Gedabek and Gosha Contract Areas and contain the large-scale Garadagh porphyry deposit and the adjacent Xarxar copper deposit.

A comprehensive exploration programme to prepare JORC compliant mineral resource and ore reserve estimates will commence after the ratification of the new concessions.

Development will follow the finalisation of the ore reserve estimates and the company anticipates ore will be extracted by open-pit mining.

The third new concession area is called Demirli and is adjacent to the Kyzlbulag Contract Area in the Karabakh economic region.

Demirli contains the Demirli copper-molybdenum deposit with an unverified estimated resource of 275,000 tonnes of copper and 3,200 tonnes of molybdenum.

As part of the agreement, Anglo Asian will relinquish its rights to the Soutely mine in the Kalbajar district after an assessment of the security risks.

The three new concessions will be incorporated into the company’s existing Production Sharing Agreement.

Reza Vaziri, Anglo Asian’s chief executive, said: “The recent cessation of hostilities with Armenia has presented an opportunity for Anglo Asian to develop its remaining contract areas, granted in 1998 (when its PSA was ratified), and to significantly accelerate its growth strategy towards becoming a mid-tier gold and copper producer.

Stephen Westhead, vice-president, added: “In regard to Garadagh and Xarxar, we have considerable expertise and understanding of the area after extensive exploration and mining around Gedabek for many years. These new concessions, which have previously had some exploration, represent great upside potential for Anglo Asian in terms of additional resources.

“The substantial volumes of copper within the Garadagh and Demirli deposits significantly strengthen our copper inventory and future”


Anglo Asian Mining says the Azerbaijan deposit supports production growth

Anglo Asian Mining PLC said Monday that an initial mineral resource estimate for its Zafar polymetallic deposit in Azerbaijan is encouraging and will help support its future long-term production growth.

The London-listed mining company said it estimates the deposit contains 51,000 metric tons of copper, 82,000 ounces of gold and 40,000 tons of zinc.

The deposit is close to the company’s existing Gedabek processing plant, and there are significant operational synergies which will help it to develop the resource, Anglo Asian Mining Chief Executive Reza Vaziri said.

Source: Market Watch

Anglo Asian to publish Zafar resource Azerbaijan

Output from the Gedabek mine, also in Azerbaijan, was 16,740oz in the three months to end June.

Anglo Asian Mining PLC (LON:AAZ) upped production slightly in its latest quarter but left its estimate for the current year unchanged at between 64,000 to 72,000 gold equivalent ounces.

The miner also said it expects to produce a maiden resource estimate for the new Zafar deposit in Azerbaijan either by the end of this month or early next.

Reza Vaziri, chief executive, added: “The company continues to work hard on the top-priority exploration of the new Zafar deposit, which has already demonstrated significant copper-gold drill hole intersections with encouraging copper, zinc and gold grades.”

Output from the Gedabek mine, also in Azerbaijan, was 16,740oz in the three months to end June, against 15,431oz in the first quarter.

Most of the increase was gold, where output went up to 12,342oz from 12,035oz.

Second-quarter gold sales amounted to 13,947oz at an average price of US$1,808 per oz, with cash at the end of the period rising to US$36.6mln (US$22.9mln).

For the half-year to June, Anglo produced an equivalent 32,171oz (32,501oz).

Vaziri added:  “The company produced a solid performance in the second quarter with production increasing to 16,740 gold equivalent ounces compared to 15,431 in the first quarter.”

Cash generation during the second quarter was excellent at US$13.7mln, he added.

Source: Pro Active Investors

Anglo Asian increasing production in Azerbaijan

In second quarter of 2021, Anglo Asian Mining produced 695 tonnes of copper, 12,342 ounces of gold and 43,566 ounces of silver at its Gedabek mine in western Azerbaijan.

When compared to the gold equivalent production of 14,301 ounces for the corresponding period in 2020, the company’s Q2 2021 total gold equivalent output of 16,740 ounces was 17% higher.

The company said that it remains on track to achieve its annual production guidance of 48,000 ounces to 54,000 ounces of gold and 2,500 tonnes to 2,800 tonnes of copper. This total production target expressed as gold equivalent ounces at budgeted prices is between 64,000 GEOs and 72,000 GEOs.

The company noted it continues to work hard on the top-priority exploration of the new Zafar deposit, which has already demonstrated significant copper-gold drill hole intersections with encouraging copper, zinc and gold grades. Anglo Asian added that it looks forward to releasing the maiden JORC resource for the project by the end of this month or early August.

Anglo Asian Mining is a gold, copper and silver producer in Central Asia with a broad portfolio of production and exploration assets in Azerbaijan. The company has a 1,962 square kilometre portfolio at its active Gedabek, Gosha and Ordubad contract areas. The company also has three recently restored contract areas in the formerly Occupied Territories and Karabakh which the company has started to preliminary evaluate.




The UK’s business links to Nagorno-Karabakh mining

The British embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, offered to help Anglo Asian Mining after diplomats learned that the company was set to secure access to mining concessions in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and other adjacent districts. Thousands of people were killed and many Armenian residents fled during last autumn’s war over Nagorno-Karabakh, which resulted in territorial gains for Azerbaijan.

The UK’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, James Sharp, met with Anglo Asian at the height of the conflict, according to email correspondence released under Freedom of Information. After the meeting, Anglo Asian sent Sharp a follow-up email containing information about gold deposits in Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding territories. The ambassador also received an update from Anglo Asian about sensitive post-ceasefire developments at a gold mine in a border district, as part of an email chain titled “Anglo Asian and the land of opportunity”. Embassy officials later offered to discreetly raise issues and questions on Anglo Asian’s behalf at a meeting with Azerbaijan’s state-owned mining company. During the meeting, trade officials sought to identify opportunities for UK firms in the country’s mining sector. The story of the friendly relationship between Anglo Asian and the embassy emerged from email correspondence released under Freedom of Information rules. The British government has heavily redacted the emails, refusing to disclose their full contents as they could not only harm the company’s interests, but also “harm the international relations of the UK and both Azerbaijan and Armenia and the interest of the UK in these countries.”

Anglo Asian has held contracts with the Azerbaijani government to exploit goldfields in the country for 20 years, but the company, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market, was until recently unable to access its concessions in Nagorno-Karabakh. Since the first Nagorno-Karabakh war in the 1990s, those territories had been under Armenian control. Azerbaijan’s offensive against Armenia last autumn has brought these concessions under Azerbaijani control – and therefore under potential future Anglo Asian management.

“The UK has been consistently clear that we support the OSCE Minsk Group’s work to facilitate a lasting end to the conflict,” the Foreign Office said in a statement to openDemocracy, referencing the international body that mediates between Armenia and Azerbaijan. “Greater prosperity across the region is an important part of securing a sustainable solution to the conflict.”

In November 2020, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned of “possible war crimes” in the conflict zone – and further reports have emerged of brutal treatment, including the extrajudicial execution of Armenian civilians and captured soldiers. Baku has also retained a number of Armenian prisoners of war since the conflict, and has subjected them to cruel and inhumane treatment.

“The UK government has failed to front up to the truth that the pursuit of global trade and investment opportunities can clash with its obligation to protect human rights,” said Tom Wills, corporate accountability and trade project manager at the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.

In a statement to openDemocracy, Anglo Asian said: “The British Embassy does not give us any ‘support’ outside of the normal course of their embassy responsibilities.”

Stable democracy


The British embassy in Baku has maintained a relationship with Anglo Asian for several years. Successive UK ambassadors to Azerbaijan, which is widely considered an authoritarian state with endemic elite corruption, severe limits on free political contest and freedom of the press, have visited the company’s Gedabek gold and copper mine.

“We are happy to help [the embassy] understand the local business environment not only as good corporate UK citizens, but because they can occasionally put us in contact with UK companies which provide goods and services for our company,” Anglo Asian said.

On its website and in other promotional materials, Anglo Asian maintains that Azerbaijan is a “politically stable democracy” with “a good human rights record.”

Azerbaijan’s gold mining sector has been dogged by allegations of nepotism. In 2012, Azerbaijani investigative journalists revealed that their country’s government had awarded stakes in gold fields to a shell company ultimately owned by the daughters of President Ilham Aliyev. As part of its contract in the country, Anglo Asian is “entitled to a maximum of 75% of the sales proceeds of minerals to set against all operating, deemed interest and capital costs.” The remaining proceeds “are allocated 51% to [Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Natural Resources] and 49% to Anglo Asian.”

Officials at the British embassy in Baku met with Anglo Asian Mining on 7 September 2020, three weeks before heavy clashes broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. Emails released to openDemocracy state that Anglo Asian briefed the Embassy on its projects, including information concerning its production sharing agreement (PSA) with the Azerbaijani government. This grants the company rights to exploit mineral-rich areas in western Azerbaijan, as well as deposits in Nagorno-Karabakh and other territories which were at that time still under Armenian control. The embassy followed up by offering to introduce Anglo Asian to UK engineering consultancies which develop underground mines and to help the company upskill its workforce. In a disclosed email, an embassy official also expressed an intention “to develop an economic narrative on how UK firms in Azerbaijan generate local tax, jobs and skills”. It is not clear whether Anglo Asian’s concessions in disputed territories were a focus of its discussions with the British embassy at this meeting.

“The British Embassy in Baku meets a wide range of British companies in Azerbaijan, including Anglo Asian Mining PLC,” the Foreign Office told openDemocracy. “These companies are creating economic opportunities in Azerbaijan and jobs in the UK.”

Skirmishes on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border had threatened to escalate into a full-scale conflict earlier in 2020. But international calls for calm went unheeded when serious fighting erupted in Nagorno-Karabakh in the closing days of September.

In response to the outbreak of war, the UK and Canada issued a joint statement urging Azerbaijan and Armenia to “stop the violence” and for “external parties and friends of both states to redouble their efforts in support of an end to hostilities and to refrain from taking actions that risk exacerbating the crisis”.

After an initial humanitarian ceasefire faltered, Azerbaijan carried out a large-scale ground offensive, retaking lands that it had lost to Armenia during the first Karabakh war in the 1990s. As the crisis deepened, the British embassy in Baku resumed contact with Anglo Asian Mining, which had sought to calm investors’ nerves over the war’s impact on its operations with a public announcement. Prompted by the embassy, Anglo Asian sent officials an update on 14 October. In the email, much of which has been redacted, Anglo Asian sought a meeting with either an unnamed embassy official or Sharp, the ambassador. Over the following week, Azerbaijani forces made territorial gains, including in Zangilan region, a district on the Iranian border that had been under Armenian control, in contravention of a UN Security Council resolution, since 1993. Zangilan is also home to the Vejnaly goldfield, which Anglo Asian holds exclusive rights to explore and exploit, and which had been previously operated by a Swiss-Armenian businessman.

On 27 October, Anglo Asian issued an update to its investors on Azerbaijan’s “liberation” of Zangilan, adding that it was in talks with the Azerbaijani government over the future development of the site. Two days later, Sharp met with Anglo Asian for what the Foreign Office described as a “catch-up over coffee”.

Anglo Asian told openDemocracy that the meeting was “typical” of those that it has with UK representatives, but did not elaborate further. The company also told openDemocracy that it has carried out a “short site visit” to its Zangilan concession, but that it currently lacks access to its mines in Nagorno-Karabakh and Kalbajar. On 10 November, Armenia and Azerbaijan eventually signed a Russian-brokered ceasefire. Under the terms of the deal, Azerbaijan held on to areas it had captured in Nagorno-Karabakh, whilst Armenia agreed to withdraw from other adjacent territories. A week or so later, on 19 November, the British embassy in Baku sought clarification from Anglo Asian over what turned out to be a misleading report about the signing of contracts between an Azeri-led consortium and a foreign company in the formerly Armenian-controlled territories of Zangilan and Kalbajar.

“Yes, this is ‘us,’” a company representative replied. “It refers to the PSA . . . for the activity and development of three contract areas [in Nagorno-Karabakh and the formerly Armenian-controlled territories].”

“Any questions/support, always happy to help,” an embassy official replied via an email that has been partly redacted on international relations grounds.

New borders


As Azerbaijan’s commitment to the ceasefire came increasingly into question in the weeks after it was signed, grainy footage circulated on social media on 26 November apparently showing Azerbaijani troops amassed on a snow-covered mountain pass above Sotk, once the largest gold mine in Armenia. Sotk straddles the new international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, after Armenia was forced to cede the surrounding Kalbajar district to Azerbaijan under the terms of the November ceasefire. Thousands of ethnic Armenians were forced to flee their homes in anticipation of the Azerbaijani military taking control of the area.

Anglo Asian Mining holds exclusive rights to exploit the mines in Azerbaijani territory under the terms of its contract with the government. A Russian company previously operated the mine when the lands remained under Armenian control. On 28 November, two days after the Sotk footage emerged, Anglo Asian sent an update on its operations to the UK ambassador. The email has been heavily redacted. But one detail was disclosed: an attachment of a news article about Azerbaijan and Armenia’s competing territorial claims to the Sotk gold mine. Anglo Asian told openDemocracy that this email was a “simple clarification” about its “interest in visiting the region”. The company said it “wanted to assess the general area”, but that it could only do so with the Azerbaijani government’s permission and only once a formal end to the conflict had been announced. Anglo Asian also added that it had “no expectation that the [British] Embassy would undertake any actions as a result of us sharing the information with them.”

Since the November ceasefire, disputes relating to the demarcation of new state borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan have largely remained unresolved. In May 2021, Azerbaijani incursions into Armenian territory triggered a military standoff, prompting OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs France and the US to call for Azerbaijani withdrawal. Subsequent incidents have recently been reported along the border between Kalbajar region, now under Azerbaijani control, and Armenia.

Anglo Asian’s update on the Sotk border issue featured as part of a response to an email sent by the Ambassador to the company under the subject header: “Anglo Asian and the land of opportunity”.The email chain has been almost entirely redacted under international relations and commercial interest exemptions.Just two lines of the Ambassador’s lengthy email have been disclosed. “I think it would be an excellent thing for Anglo Asian to be seen to be supporting . . . will pass on more details.”

Two days later, Anglo Asian agreed to sponsor the embassy’s flagship annual Queen’s Birthday Party event, which took place this month, although it is not clear whether this was related to the ambassador’s initial email. Anglo Asian told openDemocracy that it has sponsored the event for many years.

Sensitive climate


In 1997, Anglo Asian struck a deal with the Azerbaijani government to exploit mineral riches in western Azerbaijan and in other disputed territories under de facto Armenian control. The contract was modelled on agreements signed with foreign companies during Azerbaijan’s 1990s oil boom.

“At the time, this was seen as an American-owned investment,” said Richard Kauzlarich, a former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan (1994-1997), who was present at the signing ceremony at which President Heydar Aliyev – the father of the current president – hailed the agreement with Anglo Asian as a significant development in US-Azerbaijan economic relations. The Anglo Asian company that signed the deal was incorporated in the US state of Delaware.

“It seemed like a good idea from a US foreign policy point of view in getting more investment in Azerbaijan outside of the energy sector,” Kauzlarich continued.

The deal partly came about through the efforts of John Sununu, former Governor of New Hampshire and chief of staff to President George HW Bush, one of a number of well-connected US political figures who came to Azerbaijan seeking investment opportunities after the fall of the Soviet Union. Sununu remains a major shareholder of Anglo Asian.

Sununu formed a partnership with Iranian-born businessman Reza Vaziri, who at the time had a memorandum of understanding with the Azerbaijani government. Vaziri co-chairs the US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce, which has lobbied for Azerbaijani commercial interests in Washington. He is now Anglo Asian’s CEO and largest shareholder.

Reza Vaziri has been described as a “personal friend” of President Ilham Aliyev, who has ruled the country since 2003, by another Anglo Asian executive. Vaziri’s access to Azerbaijan’s ruling elite was highlighted in leaked emails published in 2016, concerning the oil consultancy Unaoil’s business in the country during the 2000s.

According to a leaked email obtained by the Australian newspaper The Age, Vaziri, who was working for Unaoil at the time, “was described as being able to set up a meeting with Azerbaijan oil minister Natig Aliyev and prime minister Artur Rasizade ‘anytime’. Vaziri could get oil minister Natig to ‘say exactly what we want’.”

As part of his work for Unaoil, Vaziri, The Age’s leaked documents show, also apparently “provided inside information from a ‘friend’ in Azerbaijan about project milestones and shortlists of bidders for work on a major pipeline project connecting several countries in the Caspian region.”

“Unaoil was, for a short period of time, a client of Mr. Vaziri”, Anglo Asian told openDemocracy.

Allegations concerning the managing director of Unaoil Azerbaijan suggest the risk of doing business in the country. As The Age reported, the leaked information it obtained suggested that Unaoil’s director in Azerbaijan could have been a conduit for bribes in relation to the country’s oil and gas business. There was no suggestion of wrongdoing by Vaziri in The Age’s reporting. Unaoil is currently under investigation as part of a UK Serious Fraud Office criminal probe into corrupt payments in Iraq’s oil sector. Four Unaoil executives have so far been convicted.

“The events to which you refer took [place] many years after this relationship ended and Mr. Vaziri had no involvement in them,” said Anglo Asian.

In January 2021, British embassy officials in Baku met with Azerbaijan’s state-owned mining company, AzerGold, to discuss potential opportunities for collaboration with UK companies. Prior to this meeting, an embassy official wrote to Anglo Asian offering to discreetly raise issues or questions with AzerGold on the company’s behalf. Anglo Asian’s response to the Embassy has been redacted on international relations grounds.

UK investment


The UK remains the single largest investor in Azerbaijan, according to government statistics. UK ties with Azerbaijan are founded on the involvement of British multinationals, such as BP, in the country’s dominant oil and gas sector.

Last month, President Aliyev welcomed the UK’s minister for exports, Graham Stuart, to Baku. At a meeting with the minister, Aliyev said that British firms were “among the first foreign companies to work with us on the restoration, reconstruction of the liberated territories”.

The following week, Eurasianet reported that Azerbaijan had awarded a multi-million dollar contract to UK architects Chapman Taylor, to design a masterplan for the reconstruction of the city of Shusha (Shushi) in Nagorno-Karabakh, which had formerly been under Armenian control.

The UK government recently updated its official guidance on overseas business risk in Azerbaijan to include information about the “vast potential” of the “recently liberated territories” in sectors such as renewable energy, agriculture, tourism, and mining.

“As the government goes about its work – negotiating new trade deals, engaging with the World Trade Organisation, and spending money promoting UK business interests overseas – it urgently needs a strategy that makes it clear that human rights come before the profits of British corporations,” said Tom Wills from the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.




Three Azerbaijani mines were granted to two Turkish companies

With a presidential order signed by Ilham Aliyev, the operating rights of three mineral mines in Azerbaijan were granted to two Turkish companies; The Qasqacay, Elbeydas and Agduzdag mines were transferred for the purpose of study, research, exploration, development and exploitation based on a 30-year contract, said the presidential order.

According to the order, Turkey’s Eti Maden will operate the Qasqacay mine, while Artvin Maden will have the Elbeydas and Agduzdag mines.

Aliyev also instructed the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry and the Economy Ministry to prepare contracts for the operation of the mines within three months and to sign them with the companies.

The Agduzdag mine is located in the southeastern part of the Kalbajar region, which was recently liberated after a nearly three-decade occupation by Armenian forces.

During a 44-day conflict last year, which ended in a truce on Nov. 10, 2020, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages in Karabakh from Armenia’s occupation.

The cease-fire was seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, whose armed forces withdrew in line with the agreement.

A joint Turkish-Russian center was established to monitor the cease-fire. Russian peacekeeping troops have also been deployed in the region.