Natural resources, energy and environment
Armenia has large deposits of molybdenum, an extremely heat resistant metal used in alloys. The country also has significant reserves of copper and gold, mineral salts and lime, marble and granite. There is also some coal, but no mining has started.
From being a rather insignificant part of the economy, mining has grown in importance since the turn of the millennium, with the help of Russian and Western European companies.
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Armenia with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
At the International Energy Council (IEA), which is affiliated with the OECD, statistics for Armenia on energy production, consumption, imports and emissions and greenhouse gases in 1990–2016 show very similar curves: steep falls in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, then a slow but steady increase.
For its energy supply, Armenia is highly dependent on imports from other former Soviet republics, today mainly Russia. When the oil supplies from Azerbaijan were cut by 1989 (compare Modern History), Armenia suffered a severe and protracted energy crisis. Even ten years later, the millionth city of Yerevan could not afford to have the streets lit at night. Armenia imports oil and gas from Russia via pipelines through Georgia.
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, AM stands for Armenia. Visit itypeusa for more information about Armenia.
When Russian gas supplier Gazprom raised its prices sharply in 2006, Armenia began to look for alternatives, setting the hope for Iran. From there they have since received a certain amount of their gas, but despite an agreement on a new oil pipeline from Iran, the construction has not started, partly because of concerns that Armenia will suffer Western sanctions against Iran due to the Iranian nuclear program. The uncertainty has also hit the plans to build two large hydropower plants near the common border with Iranian assistance.
An agreement signed in December 2013, under opposition from the opposition, gave Gazprom a monopoly on gas imports to Armenia. A jointly owned gas company then completely went into Russian ownership. In 2019 Russia raised the gas price, which caused annoyance in Armenia.
Hydropower is Armenia’s most important source of energy – mainly from Lake Sevan but also from rivers in the mountains. In recent years, hydropower has increased its share of electricity generation. However, heavy-handed exploitation of water resources during the Soviet era (1920 – 1991) for electricity production and irrigation led to problems with pollution and reduced water levels.
Most of Armenia’s electricity is produced today in five major plants: two thermal power plants fired with Russian gas, two hydroelectric power stations and the Soviet-built nuclear power plant Metsamor.
Metsamor was built in 1976, four miles outside Yerevan and in the midst of a volcanic fault crack, and has been designated the world’s most dangerous nuclear power plant. It was closed after the 1988 earthquake, but in 1995 the operation was resumed at a reactor, after some rebuilding.
The nuclear power plant produces more than 30 percent of Armenia’s electricity. Both the EU and the US have invested funds in improving safety at Metsamor. The EU also made contributions to develop other electricity generation, in the promise that Metsamor would be closed, but the closure has been postponed step by step. Production will continue at least until a planned new nuclear power plant at the same site is put into operation, which is believed to be possible around 2026.
Parliament approved a law amendment banning plastic bags in Armenian stores by 2022.
The World Wildlife Fund’s branch in Armenia has been running a program to protect the leopard since 2002. Until the 1980s, there were plenty of leopards in the country, but they were hunted hard. In 2020, WWF estimated that there were ten leopards left. The brown bear and the native mufflon sheep are also among species that are red listed and threatened.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
984 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
1900 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
5 530 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
1.9 tons (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
15.8 percent (2015)
Hacker attacks threaten to lead to war
The tone is piqued in the conflict with Azerbaijan. President Sargsyan says a new war cannot be ruled out. Several Azerbaijan internet sites are being harmed by Armenian “hackers”, whereupon President Sargsyan’s official website is also hacked, probably by Azerbaijanis. The Russian government stands on Armenian side, while the EU urges both sides to avoid escalating the conflict.
Conflict with Hungary
Armenia breaks diplomatic relations with Hungary. The reason is that an Azerbaijani soldier, sentenced to life imprisonment in Hungary for the 2004 murder of an Armenian soldier, was transferred to Azerbaijan where he was pardoned and promoted immediately after returning home. The two soldiers had been on a NATO-led course in Hungary when the Azerbaijan killed its Armenian colleague with an ax. The Armenian government accuses the Hungarian authorities of making a gross mistake when they trusted Azerbaijan’s promises that the punishment would be respected. The government of Yerevan also sends letters of protest to the countries of the OSCE so-called Minsk Group – which is in vain mediated by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – and the US government demands a declaration from Hungary.
Soldiers are killed in border fighting
Border battles with Azerbaijan erupt on a few occasions and three Armenian soldiers are killed. Both sides blame the violence on the fact that forces from the other side have tried to cross the border. Struggles also occur in Nagorno-Karabakh where an Armenian is killed.
Own majority for the ruling party
In the election, the Republican Party gets its own majority with 70 out of 131 seats. The second largest is, as before, a successful Armenia. The Armenian National Congress, formed in 2008 by former President Levon Ter-Petrosyan, passes the seven percent barrier. The parties Dasjnak, the Rule of Law and the Cultural Heritage also manage to remain in Parliament. The choice goes quietly, but there are many complaints about irregularities.
Try to avoid election fraud
Ahead of the impending parliamentary election, several opposition parties and the smaller government party A successful Armenia include an agreement to work together to ensure that the election is a fair one this time. An offer by President Sargsyan’s Republican Party for an alternative multi-party group with the same purpose wins no hearing. The Passport Police report that approximately 2,000 deceased citizens have been removed from the voting booths in an attempt to reduce the election fraud.