Anglo Asian blasted for statement on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

On the road north of Stepanakert Nagorno Karabakh military equipment returning from the front in 2016. (Image by Clay Gilliland, Flickr).

Just hours before Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia signed a deal to end the war over the disputed area of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian National Committee UK issued a release blasting Anglo Asian Mining’s (LON: AAZ) position during the conflict, which reignited back in September.

In detail, the grassroots organization rejected a media statement issued by the AIM-listed company welcoming what the miner called “the liberation” of the Zangilan district, which hosts the Vejnaly contract area. 

Vejnaly is a 300-square kilometre land package where Anglo Asian has an exploration and development permit. The property contains the Vejnaly deposit which, according to the company, contains 6.5 tonnes of gold (C1 + C2) and 2.3 tonnes of gold (P1) based on the Soviet Classification system. 

The ANC rejected Anglo Asian’s release welcoming what the miner called “the liberation” of the Zangilan district

Anglo Asian has said that Vejnaly will only start to be explored and developed once the Government of Azerbaijan confirms the cessation of all hostilities and that it is safe to access the district.

But the Zangilan district, which is located in the southwestern part of the country, is also close to the villages of Amirkhanly and Aghband, many of whose residents had to flee due to the conflict.

“It is sad that a London-listed company should think it appropriate to put out a press release celebrating the ‘liberation’ of land that it plans to exploit for commercial gain. That ‘liberation’ has come about through the expulsion of the ethnic Armenians who lived there,” ANC’s statement reads.

“We believe Anglo Asian Mining is taking advantage of the war and exploiting an unstable region to maximise profits for its investors, and without a care in the world for how the conflict is impacting civilians. This is shameful.”

MINING.COM reached out to Anglo Asian asking for a comment on these allegations.

In its response, the company did not mention the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and only said that the miner is in compliance with country rules and regulations.

“Anglo Asian Mining notes recent media comments about its assets in the Zangilan district. The company complies with all international laws and with laws in the countries in which it operates,” the statement reads.

“As a company listed on public markets, Anglo Asian will continue to keep its shareholders informed of any material developments which may impact the territories in which it operates.”

Ongoing war

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been on and off for over three decades. Although the region is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, it has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces since the parties fought a war as the Soviet Union was dissolving.

The most recent flare-up has been attributed to a new attempt by Azerbaijan to control the less mountainous districts in the southern part of the disputed region.

In Azerbaijan, Anglo Asian also runs the Gedabek operation near the western city of Ganja and has its main office in the capital, Baku. According to the miner, both have continued to function as usual despite the conflict.