The Finance Minister of Armenia, Vahé Ovannisyan, has indicated that economic activity growth in the nation has been negatively impacted by the suspension of operations at the Sotk Gold Mine in Gegharkunik Province.
Periodic shelling by Azerbaijani armed forces had led mine operator GeoPromining Gold to halt open-pit mining at Sotk in May. While work continued in closed sections as per the provincial governor in October, industrial sector performance suffered due to the suspension, according to the minister.
Between January and September, Armenia’s overall economic activity increased 9.7%, though expansion slowed in September from the prior month’s rates. Exports rose 48% driven by a tripling of re-exports to Russia, even as locally produced goods shipments fell slightly.
Tourist numbers visiting Armenia in this period grew 48.8% to 1.85 million people, over half of whom were Russian. Other positive indicators included a 17.4% increase in salaries during the first half, along with employment expanding 5.8% as unemployment declined 16%. Unemployment reached an historically low national level of 11.7% in the second quarter.