Chovdar Gold Mine Workers Demand Their Salaries

About 30 Chovdar village gold mine workers protested on January 25 demanding their salaries for the past 21 months from their employer, AIMROC Mining Company, according to Meydan TV.

The workers, who said they traveled from Dashkesan and Ganja regions, gathered in Chovdar demanding a meeting with the company’s management. The protestors told the reporters that AIMROC offices in Chovdar, Ganja and Baku have been long closed. The protestors said they also went to the Milli Majlis (the parliament) and the Labor and Social Protector of the Population Ministry, and were advised to file a complaint against the company in court.

According to Turan News Agency, the Ministry of Ecology told AIMROC gold miners that the company has put up for sale its bonds back in the summer 2014, and as of then has practically stopped its existence.

Gold miners told Turan that their company stopped gold mining in May 2014 and left about 300 employees without any explanation. In June 2014, the miners were told that there won’t be any work for a while, but didn’t pay their salaries either.

Back in 2012 Radio Azadliq (Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty) investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova reported that AIMROC was registered in Azerbaijan with the Ministry of Justice in 2007, and that this company was founded by Londex resources S.A. (this company owns 100% of AIMROC). Londex Resources S.A. is registered in Panama, but has an office in Azerbaijan. On December 30, 2006, LOndex Resources S.A. and Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Ecology signed an agreement for 30 years on mining permissions in Chovdar, Kohnemeden, Balaken and Geydag.

Turan reports that, according to the agreement, Londex Resources S.A. should be responsible for AIMROC’s wrongdoings, but the organization wasn’t brought responsible.

In February 2015, after AIMROC’s disappearance, Azerbaijani President ordered to create a state-owned AZGOLD company that would have 100% of the goldmining rights in Azerbaijan.

Ismayilova was arrested in December 2014 and charged with 7.5 years in prison in 2015. Turan alleges that AIMROC closure could be a result of her investigations into the company, because financially AIMROC was a profitable business, according to them.

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