Armenian government has extended mining rights to Lydian Armenia CJSC

The Armenian government has extended mining rights to Lydian Armenia CJSC at the controversial Amulsar gold mine site for another three years, until 2039, without a new environmental impact assessment.

June 2022 amendments to Armenia’s mining legislation allow companies to mine with environmental impact assessments more than a year old, if work delays were caused by force majeure reasons, including “civil disobedience.”

Initial environmental impact assessments (EIA) finding in favor of the mine were thrown out after allegations that Lydian had a hand in manipulating their conclusions.

Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan, facing mounting pressure at home opposing the mine, ordered a new audit conducted by the Lebanese firm ELARD.

In August 2019, the report found that environmental risks at Amulsar “would be manageable.”  Pashinyan, pointing to the positive findings, said the Amulsar mine should be opened.

A public backlash forced the government to stand down and promise that it would order yet another EIA. The 2020 Artsakh war pushed the issue to the backburner and no new EIA was ever conducted. The June 2022 amendment also lists “war” as an acceptable force majeure reason for any delay.

Lydian Armenia can thus go ahead with the project based on the August 2019 ELARD report.

The Pashinyan administration, which originally opposed mining at Amulsar now supports it, pointing to the country’s post-war economic needs.

Lydian Armenia is a 100% subsidiary of Lydian Canada Ventures owned by the US firm, Orion Mine Finance and Canadian firm, Osisko Gold Royalties, who both invest in mining and mineral sectors, HETQ writes.

Finland’s government plans to introduce a new tax on minerals extracted by the mining industry

Finland’s government plans to introduce a new tax on minerals extracted by the mining industry, the Nordic country’s finance ministry said on Tuesday.

Some of the European Union’s greatest known reserves of minerals used for batteries and other products are located in Finland where there are around 40 operational mines producing nickel, zinc, lithium, cobalt and gold among others.

Finland has thus far not collected taxes on minerals but the government now proposes introducing a royalty of 0.6% on the taxable value of metallic minerals and of 0.2 euros per extracted tonne for other minerals, the ministry said.

With the new tax, the government calculates it could collect annually some 25 million euros ($24.1 million), with 60% of it to be directed to the municipalities where mines are located and 40% to the central government.

“The aim of the tax is to take into account the nature of mining minerals… as non-renewable natural resources and to direct a reasonable compensation for their use to the society,” the ministry said in a statement.

The new tax, pending approval in Finland’s parliament, is planned to take effect from the beginning of 2024, Euronews writes.

Xanadu poised to benefit from Mongolian mining laws

Equities firm MST Access believes changes to the Government of Mongolia’s mining code has the potential to benefit foreign investment with revisions to the nation’s laws expected later this year.

One of the potential beneficiaries of the proposed changes is ASX-listed Xanadu Mines that is aiming to develop its Kharmagtai copper-gold project in Mongolia.

An independent assessment by MST Access — engaged by Xanadu — expects the government’s updated mining code to be competitive with other successful mining jurisdictions.

The firm says Mongolia is seeking to attract foreign investment and lower barriers to doing business, particularly in the mining industry.

The changes are aimed at boosting in-country investment, underpinned by improving investor confidence and conviction.

MST argues the Mongolian government’s key priority is to draw in new investment prospects and ensure transitional arrangements take on board suggestions in addition to lessons learnt from existing investors.

Mongolia’s reputation as a mining jurisdiction is seen to be ever increasing in terms of resource project discovery and development, with highly prospective and under-explored geology.

The country’s potential has been highlighted by the magnitude of Xanadu’s Kharmagtai project that has a mineral resource estimate identified at a massive 1.1 billion tonnes for 3 million tonnes of contained copper and 8 million ounces of gold.

MST says that during the recent 2022 Mongolian Economic Forum in April, mining was identified as a key area of focus for Mongolia’s ‘New Revival Policy’ as part of the country’s long-term development plan — Vision 2050.

Just last month Xanadu received Australian Foreign Investment Review Board approval for Chinese mining giant Zijin to acquire shares in the company to develop Kharmagtai.

The board’s no-objection notification is the first of three approvals required for Zijin to continue its three-phase investment in Xanadu that was announced in April.

The deal still requires approval from the Chinese Government and Xanadu shareholders in order to be formalised.

However, Xanadu is confident both approvals are on track in addition to funding from the remaining two investment phases for the upcoming December quarter.

According to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mongolia has the potential for major economic expansion over the coming decades with its wealth of natural resources.

In 2013 the department introduced the Australia-Mongolia Extractives Program that aims to improve government capacity to manage a vital resource for Mongolia and underlines Australia’s political and commercial interest in a well-functioning resources export industry in the country.

Xanadu has recently kicked off a new exploration campaign at the company’s highly prospective Red Mountain project in the South Gobi region of Mongolia targeting shallow high-grade gold, silver and copper.

The company has a 100 per cent share in Red Mountain where early exploration has defined broad zones of strong quartz stockwork veining and associated high-grade gold mineralisation.

The project has a 30-year mining licence and comprises an underexplored porphyry district covering about 57 square kilometres.

As the Mongolian government continues to make changes to its foreign investment framework and mining laws, companies like Xanadu appear to be in the box seat to reap the benefits, West Australian writes.

GeoProMining Gold indirectly confirms its involvement in corrupt deal with Armenian government

The GeoProMining Gold LLC, which lost the vast majority of Armenia’s Sotk gold mine after the capitulation signed by Nikol Pashinyan, “has forgotten” about the losses incurred after its main shareholder Roman Trotsenko cut a “corrupt political deal” with the Armenian government, Pastinfo reports.

As a result of the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020, a part of the Sotk mine fell under the control of Azerbaijan. In particular, Anglo Asian Mining PLC, a UK-based holding company, has stated that more than 75% of the mine is under the control of the Azerbaijani military and GeoProMining Gold does not carry out any activity in Sotk.

Experts say that GeoProMining has all the legal grounds to apply to the International Court of Arbitration, as it has suffered significant material damage as a result of the actions of the Armenian government. Speaking to Sputnik Armenia, Sargis Grigoryan, head of the GPartners Law Firm, did not rule out the possibility that investors could file huge compensation claims against Armenia in international courts as part of international agreements. Moreover, the amount of possible compensation demanded, according to him, may range from $3 billion to $5 billion, which will be paid at the expense of Armenian taxpayers.

And suddenly a redistribution of business took place. Under highly suspicious circumstances, most of the shares of the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC) were sold to Roman Trotsenko without the knowledge and consent of the other GeoProMining Gold shareholders, which seemingly overshadowed the damage caused by the loss of the Sotk mine.

On March 16, Pastinfo submitted a written inquiry to GeoProMining Gold Director Roman Khudoli over violations of the company’s rights due to the capitulation deal, damages suffered, and Sotk mine operation, however the company has nothing to say as a result of suspicious transactions related to ZCMC.

In particular, Pastinfo asked the company whether the interests and rights of GeoProMining Gold have been violated as a result of the implementation of the provisions enshrined in the November 9 statement of the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders, and the scale of the material losses it suffered. The news website also sought to reveal the official reason why the company did not make a claim to the relevant international financial institutions or the International Court of Arbitration against Armenia to get compensation, especially when, according to experts, the company had quite high chances to win the lawsuit. It also asked whether any issues related to the impossibility of operating the Sotk mine, compensation for damages, personnel maintenance and security provision while developing the mine had been discussed with the Armenian authorities in writing or verbally.

Pastinfo also tried to find out the reason for the “generosity” of the company that suffered great losses towards the Armenian government. The company was deprived of the opportunity to exploit 75% of the Sotk gold mine reserves, and, accordingly, the expected profits, but in parallel with the deal in September 2021, GeoProMining Gold announced that it would not cut jobs and after the ZCMC deal signed on September 30, it donated a large part of the newly acquired shares to the Armenian government.

“In addition, we reminded the company that the Azerbaijani leadership, who had been announcing plans to sue GeoProMining Gold over the Sotk mine development and waring about the environmental risks caused by the Zangezur Copper and Molybdenum Combine, stopped making such statements after the Industrial Company, a GeoProMining Armenia subsidiary, acquired a stake of ZCMC. We tried to find out what they attribute it to and whether any efforts have been made to normalize relations with Azerbaijan,” the news site said.

“Dragging its feet, the GeoProMining Gold LLC has avoided answering the mentioned questions, thus indirectly confirming our suspicions about the shady arrangements and a corrupt deal with the current Armenian authorities,” Pastinfo stressed.

It is worth noting that Russia’s former Minister of Health and Social Development Mikhail Zurabov, who owns 12.5% of the ZCMC shares, filed a lawsuit to a court in Syunik in August 2021, asking for a preference to acquire the ZCMC shares. The court not only agreed to hear the lawsuit but also applied a measure, seizing 75% of the shares of the Zangezur Copper Molybdenum Combine.

Later on September 30, the Syunik Court of General Jurisdiction ruled to lift the ban on shares, and the GeoProMining Armenia subsidiary acquired them immediately after it. After the deal, Trotsenko granted 15 percent of the shares of the Molybdenum Combine to the Armenian government, Panorama reports.

Greenland Minerals is beginning arbitration proceedings against the governments of Greenland and Denmark

Greenland Minerals is beginning arbitration proceedings against the governments of Greenland and Denmark over its stalled Kvanefjeld rare earth-uranium project, Kallanish reports.

Arbitration has been officially requested by subsidiary Greenland Minerals A/S, after discussions with the Greenland government failed to provide a remedy, the Australia-based company says. Last month, the government rejected the company’s exploitation license. The company is seeking a hearing before three arbitrators in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“We tried to find a constructive solution through dialogue with the government of Greenland but they made it clear that they would not move from their position that Act No. 20 applies to us and our exploitation license will not be granted,” says managing director Daniel Mamadou.

The company took the step in order to protect its investment in the project and to obtain the exploitation license that is needed to proceed. The company was earlier issued an exploration license and that should entitle it to an exploitation license, the company says. It is maintaining its application for an exploitation license and is seeking an independent legal opinion as to whether the 2021 uranium mining ban applies to its project.

If the law does apply to the project, the company will seek compensation for expropriation from the Greenland government, the company says. It says it has invested AUD 130 million ($97.14m) in the project in 10 years.

The government of Greenland has banned the mining of uranium which it defines as uranium content of 100 parts per million or greater in the total resource. That rule went into effect 2 December, 2021.

The Kvanefjeld project in southwest Greenland features ore reserve that contain 108m tonnes of 1.43% rare earth oxide, 0.26% zinc and 0.036% uranium oxide. The uranium oxide content is 266 ppm and would produce about 5% of project revenues, Kallanish reports.

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.

Source: proactiveinvestors.com