Armenia - Country Commercial Guide
Mining and Minerals

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-07-31


Armenia has a long history with mining, marked by the beginning of copper extraction at the Alaverdi mine in the 1770s, the Kapan gold mine in the 1840s, and a copper-molybdenum mine at Kajaran in the 1950s.  After Armenia gained independence, the continued development of the country’s minerals sector was hindered by a number of factors including its geographical location and difficult conditions for transporting products to markets abroad.  The industry was also crippled technologically.  This, together with a legal and regulatory framework that lagged international best practices, drove increasing concern about adverse environmental impacts, sustainability, corruption, land rights, and socioeconomic tensions.  Reform began in earnest in the early 2000s with the revision of the regulatory framework, the liberalization of contractual mechanisms, and the privatization of major mining companies.

Mining and mineral issues are under the purview of the Ministry of Territorial Administration & Infrastructure, which was formed in 2019 through a merger of the former Ministry of Energy Infrastructures & Natural Resources and Ministry of Territorial Administration & Development.

The mining and minerals sector is regulated by several core pieces of legislation, including: The Mining Code, Land Code, Civil Code, Water Code, Administrative Code, Law on Waste, Law on Environmental Supervision, Law on Environmental and Natural Resource Use Fees, and the Law on Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Expertise.

International donors have supported Armenia’s efforts to improve mining sector legislation in line with international best practices.  The World Bank funded a strategic mineral sector sustainability assessment, completed in 2016, that focused on the key challenges and opportunities in the sector, with an emphasis on developing a regulatory environment that both promotes sustainability and attracts investment.  The government is undertaking additional work to develop a mining strategy to continue these efforts.  Meanwhile, the government has recently approved amendments to various laws to exercise control over environmental standards, permitting, and construction techniques. In 2022,  the government approved a set of amendments and additions to the Tax Code and the Law on State Duties concerning the revision of the royalty system applied to mining companies, introducing a two-step progressive taxation system moving away from price-based royalty schedules and ad-hoc export duties.

In 2017, Armenia joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) as a candidate country.  In 2020, following the EITI Board’s positive EITI implementation assessment, Armenia became the 53rdcountry to be granted the status of a country with satisfactory progress.

While the mining sector accounts for only three percent of Armenia’s gross domestic product, the sector dominates Armenia’s goods exports.  Exports of mined resources, including finished products based on raw materials such as aluminum foil and diamonds, account for over half of Armenia’s merchandise exports annually.  Mined copper resources represent the single biggest contributor to Armenia’s merchandise exports.  Levels of subsoil assets per capita are high compared to similar petroleum-importing countries in the region.

Mining in Armenia is concentrated around the extraction of the following metals:iron, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, gold, silver, antimony, and aluminum.  There are also valuable reserves of rare metals in gold-polymetallic, copper-molybdenum, and copper pyrite deposits.

Besides metals, Armenia produces other industrial minerals, which include cement, diatomite, gypsum, limestone, and perlite.  The country also has indigenous construction material resources, such as basalt, granite, limestone, marble, and tuff, as well as several types of semiprecious stonesArmenia has also developed a diamond processing industry based on imported diamonds.

Leading Sub-Sectors

The extraction and export of copper and associated molybdenum reserves dominates Armenia’s mining landscape.  The leading producer of copper and molybdenum concentrates in Armenia is the Zangezur Copper Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC), which operates a major mine at Kajaran and is responsible for 60 percent of annual turnover in the mining sector.  The Teghut mine in Armenia’s north is another significant source of copper, as is a mine at Agarak, near Armenia’s border with Iran.  The government has entertained the prospect of new investment to replace a dilapidated copper smelter in the town of Alaverdi.  The copper sub-sector has been a target for some of the most significant foreign direct investment in Armenia’s mining sector.

In 2021, the “Industrial Company” which is a fully owned subsidiary of “Geopromining Armenia” acquired 60 percent of ZCMC.  The company then donated 25 percent of its shares to the government of Armenia.

Gold is the second most important sub-sector for mining.  The Sotk mine the eastern part of Armenia is the leading producer of gold, followed by Shahumyan mine in the south.  

Aluminum foil production represents another major industry for Armenia.  One company, Armenal—owned by RUSAL, a Russian aluminum production company—dominates this space.  Other major sub-sectors in terms of the value of exports include diamonds and jewelry.


Armenia is likely to continue developing facilities for processing copper, gold, and molybdenum.  However, a significant portion of Armenian society voices concerns about the potential effects of mining projects, and companies’ environmental practices are coming under increased scrutiny.  This is due in large part to the historical mismanagement of the sector and the use of outdated practices and technologies.  The proximity of any mining projects to Lake Sevan or other environmentally sensitive areas is likely to draw public scrutiny.  In response to recent protests over projects seen as controversial, the government has committed to conduct environmental assessments of all current mining projects with the wide community and civil society involvement.

Due to increased public sensitivity and government attention to the potentially adverse environmental impacts of mining, as well as an interest in seeing that the sector serves as a source of sustainable economic growth, there are emerging opportunities for the provision of services and technologies that can address legacy liabilities through the reclamation, rehabilitation, or remediation of mines and adjacent areas and facilities.   


  • Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure
  • Ministry of Economy
  • Armenian National Interests Fund (ANIF)
  • Enterprise Armenia
  • Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia
  • UNCTAD Investment Policy Review of Armenia
  • WTO Trade Policy Review: Armenia 2018
  • American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia
  • Spyur Information System