The taxes paid by the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC) were sharply up from 2021, accounting for almost 7.5 percent of the Armenian government’s overall tax revenue, which rose by 21 percent.
Data released by the State Revenue Committee (SRC) on Wednesday shows that the national gas distribution company owned by Russia’s Gazprom giant was still the second most important source of that revenue, followed by the Grand Tobacco cigarette manufacturer. The SRC collected 52 billion drams and 45 billion drams respectively from these companies in 2022. Grand Tobacco topped the corporate taxpayers’ list in 2019 and 2020.
Armenia’s 20 leading businesses also include other tobacco and mining firms as well as fuel importers, telecommunication operators, a supermarket chain and a software company. The latter specializes in software solutions for online gambling and gaming.
ZCMC employs about 4,000 people and mines copper and molybdenum near Kajaran, a town in Syunik. The mining giant changed hands in September 2021 following a government crackdown on its management and key shareholders who openly challenged Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.
Russia’s GeoProMining group announced at the time that it acquired 60 percent of ZCMC and “granted” a quarter of that stake to the government. It gave no clear reason for the lavish donation.
Another, obscure private firm ceded its 6.8 percent stake in the company to the government in March 2021. Pashinian revealed the transfer only five months later.