Armenia disallowed leading international expedition to occupied territory of Azerbaijan, Reza Vaziri says

Armenia disallowed leading international expedition to occupied territory of Azerbaijan, Reza Vaziri says
# 17 May 2007 11:27 (UTC +04:00)
- What have you done under the agreement with the Government, which fields have you explored?
- We have completed exploration of Gedebek Field and introduced results to the Government of Azerbaijan. As per the agreement, we had to submit our business plan to the government before starting production and create a management committee after a month. Yesterday, we had meeting with the Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry and established the committee. The committee will frame an action plan and budget. According to the agreement, the exploration works must have spent $25 million while Gedebek Field exploration took in took in 85% to 90% of the funds. Global and domestic market prices hike pushed costs up. The cost price of gold was between $230 and $240 per ounce but the level reaches $270 now.
- The Government accuses you of not fulfilling the agreement duties you undertook.
- We have not received such a appeal or notice.
- It is reportedly said you have stopped exploration in Nakhchivan, haven’t you?
- Exploration activities in Ordubad are not complete. We didn’t get satisfactory results in other works here. Exploration in Shakardara and Piyazbashi Deposits showed it is gold vein here as unexpected. Such fields are not economically efficient.
- It is reported that a Russian company will tap you fields in Nakhchivan.
- I read about this in media. I knew that a Russian company negotiated with the government. I don’t have any information our contract will be terminated. Azerbaijan has never unilaterally terminated a parliament ratified agreement. True, the government reserves the right to cancel the contract if the contractor fails to fulfill the duties. We are fulfilling all undertakings.
- When do you plan to start industrial production of gold?
- We have a gold plant in Singapore. Exploration in Gedebek showed us that it is not economically efficient to build a refinery here. Chemical method of refining is more efficient. We have booked equipment to install for this process. From experience, I can say if there is gold vein, it is necessary to build a refinery, if not, chemical method is more preferable.
- How much is gold reserve of Gedebek and Gosha Fields estimated to be?
- Gedebek holds net gold reserve of 750,000 ounces. Along with copper and silver, it reaches 1.2 million ounces. The gold we are tapping holds 15 tons of copper. Exploration in Gosha Fiedl has not been completed. This field is expected to reserve 600,000 ounces of gold.
- How much is the cost price of gold in Azerbaijan and how much work is required for an ounce of gold?
- The cost price is 20% to 25% lower compared to other former soviet countries while it can be considered average in relation to global prices. In Gedebek field 15 tons of soil should be refined for an ounce of gold and it is possible to take 2 grams of gold out of per ton of soil. In other countries it I possible to get 3-7 grams of gold per ton. However, with modern technology, 2 grams of gold per ton of soil is quite efficient.
- What counties do you intend to export the extracted gold to?
- 85% of our output will be pure gold. Then, it will be purified in Switzerland. After all these process, we will look to find a market.
- What is the quality of Azerbaijani gold?
- Gold companies are not interested in quality of gold. Purity is the main indicator. Because of copper mixture, Azeri gold has a specific color and preferential.
- Global gold prices go up? How does this uptrend influence your work?
- When we concluded contract, in late 1997, gold prices fell to $190-$210 from $375 for the first time in 40 years. If the cost price is $230, how could we do with $210. We stopped. Many mining companies went bankrupt. Now, prices are very good. We try to make time. I think the price will further go up. Gold, is now trading at about $670 an ounce. Experience says that gold prices can have sharp changes every 12-13 years. But, in fact, nobody can forecast it. India and China have strong influence on gold prices.
- You wanted to lead an international expedition to the occupied lands of Azerbaijan…
- We sent a protect letter to Armenian, British Governments, US Department of State, UN and other organizations about illegal tapping of gold fields in Azeri territories occupied by Armenia. According to international legal norms, no company can carry out exploration or exploitation activities in our fields. Our appeals have remained unanswered. I wanted to lead an international expedition but Armenians didn’t allow. Some claim in Azerbaijan that we can’t defend our rights. Of course, we can file a request with the international court but we have a fact. Unfortunately, we don’t have such evidence. The second, we have information that companies operating in Armenia have serious problems, they can’t extract their own gold, how can they tap our gold in Kelbejer (an occupied region of Azerbaijan). Armenian government sued a Canadian country and won $30 million. It is not easy to extract gold… for four years, I have been working hard, spending millions, but has not gained full success. I am responsible for defense my and Azerbaijan’s rights. If I had a piece of evidence, I would go to the international court today. /APA-Economics/
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