The field was discovered in 1951 on the border of the Kalbajar region from the side of Azerbaijan and the Basarkechar region from the side of Armenia. And despite the fact that most of the deposit (75% of gold reserves or 17 out of 25 gold-bearing veins) was located in Azerbaijan, by the order of the USSR Ministry of Geology, the supervision of the deposit was transferred to the Geology Department of Armenia. Commercial exploitation of the field began in 1976. In 1977-1990, 27.6 tons of gold were mined at this deposit.
In 1992, due to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, work on this field was suspended. Nevertheless, the government of Azerbaijan on August 20, 1997 included it in its first long-term international “golden contract”, signed with RV Investment.
Having no access to this field due to the Armenian occupation, this company – the operator of AAM (quoted on the London Stock Exchange), based on imagery from space, recorded that the Armenian side, in violation of international law, was operating in this area of the captured Kalbajar region. These facts are legalized in the form of claims and are waiting in the wings. As stated in the AAM on November 24, 2020, “a peace agreement was signed that appears to have ended the fighting”.
“The Azerbaijani government and AAM will inform the market in due time about their plans for the contract areas included in the 1997 Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) and located in those regions of Azerbaijan, access to which is now open,” the statement said.
Note that this PSA with RV Investment also included the Vejnali gold deposits in the Zangilan region and Gyzylbulag in the Agdere region, but Soyudlu is considered one of the most valuable, since gold on it contains few impurities, which means the process of its purification (refining) is facilitated and does not require large financial costs.
Until now, the site in the Kalbajar region was under the control of the Russian company Geo Pro Mining LLC, which operates in Armenia and the Russian Federation. As the Russian media write on November 27, 2020, “the Zod field was divided into two parts by the state border of Armenia with the Kalbajar region that came under the control of Azerbaijan”.
As the first deputy chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces Tigran Khachatryan told reporters, “Geo Pro Mining took preliminary measures to ensure security, a checkpoint was placed on the road, and the Azerbaijani military were warned that this was a Russian facility”.
It should be reminded that on November 26, 2020, a video appeared on the network in which the Azerbaijani military entered the territory of this gold mine.
Late in the evening of November 26, the Armenian Ministry of Defense announced that the border between Armenia and the Kalbajar region, taken under the control of Azerbaijan, was being demarcated, and part of the work was going through the zone of the gold deposit.
- “74% of the Zod-Soyudlu gold Deposit should go to Azerbaijan”, Turan, 28 November 2020. https://www.turan.az/ext/news/2020/11/free/analytics/en/130362.htm.