Home / Ecology / Government Official Promised to Have the Beneficiary Owners of Mines Disclosed

Government Official Promised to Have the Beneficiary Owners of Mines Disclosed

The beneficiary owners of mining companies are those who actually benefit from the operation of the company. It is Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative’s (EITI) standard’s mandatory requirement that these persons’ identities be public, as they remain, as a rule, hidden in the chain of legal persons affiliated with the company.

Armenia is a member of EITI since 2017 and as part of its obligations has prepared a draft law on disclosing beneficiary owners of mines to the National Assembly. The draft law is ready and can potentially enter into force starting November 2019, says Deputy Minister of Energy Infrastructure and Natural Resources.

“Companies must disclose at their own initiative and also with our oversight who the beneficiary owners are all the way down to the last share-holder, at the level of physical persons,” says Gevorgyan.

To the question of “Radio Liberty” on what kind of mechanisms will be put in place, will the disclosure be realistic as the mining companies operating for years in Armenia are often affiliated with high-ranking politicians, former presidents, the response of the Deputy Minister was the following: “It is a clear mechanism as envisioned by the draft law, there is a procedure for disclosure. The State Registry Agency of the Ministry of Justice will be in charge of this procedure. There is a mechanism set up with specific functions. Of course, I think there are still certain issues, today this issue of disclosing the beneficiary owners persists all over the world, but the fact is that we will have a better situation than what we have now.”

For years, it has been voiced that the beneficiary owners of many large mines are high-ranking officials in Armenia, while the processes of licensing and oversight over operation of mines have been handled through huge corruption deals. A preliminary criminal investigation is currently underway over the case of the former Minister of Nature Protection having receiving 14 mln USD of a bribe. Deputy Minister Gevorgyan finds it difficult to assess whether there will be scandalous revelations after the adoption of the law, but he assures of positive changes.

“It has always been considered normal that offshore companies operate in various countries, here what is more important is transparency, that the public sector, NGOs are informed who is in reality the beneficiary owner of a given metal extracting company. This is very important,” emphasizes Gevorgyan.