Armenia has a long and rich history and prides itself on being the first nation to formally adopt Christianity (early 4th century). Despite periods of autonomy, over the centuries Armenia came under the sway of various empires including the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, and Ottoman. Armenia gained its independence from the Soviet Union on 21st September 1991.
The country is located at the historic cross roads between Europe, the Middle East and Asia and is located on one of the branches of the Silk Road. The country has a population of approximately 3 million and a land area of 29,800 km2. The international airport at Yerevan is well served by flights from Europe, the middle east, and the former soviet union; and there are good road links running through the country from Georgia in the north to Iran in the south (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/am.html).
The country is democratic and is currently experiencing steady economic growth. According to the Heritage Foundation / Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom, the country has in the last decade recharged its economy by market liberalization and privatization initiatives and a macroeconomic policy environment supported by low taxes and stable government spending. The regulatory framework is sound and an open trade regime with low tariffs facilitates the free flow of goods. In the 2011 index, Armenia was ranked 36th freest in the world and 19th amongst the 43 countries in the European region, with its rating putting it above the world and regional averages.
There is an independent Judiciary and laws protecting foreign investors against legislative changes. Armenia is a member of the World Trade Organization and is a signatory to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)(www.icsid.worldbank.org). Mining and metal processing have been undertaken in Armenia since ancient times. The modern mining industry was established during the Soviet Union period with major mining and refining complexes being established at Kadjaran, Kapan, Zod and Alavarde. The mineral potential of the country attracted Lydian’s attention initially in 2005 and subsequently the Amulsar gold deposit was discovered in 2006. Other international exploration and mining companies active in Armenia include Dundee Precious Metals Inc, Global Gold Corp, Cronimet and GeoProMining.