Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

CHRONICLE OF THE IRISH ADVENTURE IN BULGARIA

By ordinance of the Council of Ministers the copper and gold mine in the village of Chelopech near Sofia, was shut down. The decision was in response of the enviromentalists' protests against copper production during which harmful arsenium is emitted. In end-1994, however, the Irish company Navan Mining entered the closed mine. With the approval of the then Ministry of Industry, headed by Alexander Bozhkov, the joint venture (JV) Bulgarian-Irish Mining Shareholding Company (BIMSC) was set up. Navan Minining held 68% in the JV, and the balance of 32% was owned by Chelopech EAD. In September 1997 the Irish resitered their own independednt company Balkan Mineral and Mining. Its address registration is the same as that of Chelopech EAD, and it subject of activity - prospecting of the gold deposits in the Pernik and Krumovgrad region. In June 1999, after a privatisation procedure held by the former Ministry of Insustry, Chelopech EAD was acquierd by the Irish and was renamed Navan-Chelopech AD. As a result of that operation BIMSC also became 100% ownership of Navan Mining.Meanwhile, two more companies were set up. Navan Balkan Resources AD - Chelopech was registered in February 1998 with management of investment projects as its subject of activity. Navan Mineral Resources Holding BV is the major shareholder in it, and the Bulgarian participants in its supreme management - Ivan Kesyakov, Dimiter Raikov and Nevyanka Mateeva - each hold 0.2% in it. The fifth company - BIMSK Eco was registered in August 1993 in Kostinbrod. Its subject of activity is purification and distribution of water. MIMSK holds 33% in it, and the Bulgarian Ecocoop is the owner of the balance of 67 per cent. In the autumn of 2002 the Irish company was adjudicated insolvent. Representatives of the US consulting company Ernst Young were appointed trustees in bankruptcy. It was them that in February 2003 granted to the Canadian company Dundee Precious Acquisition Inc. exclusive rights to hold negotiations for the purchase pf Navan Mining's subsidiaries in Bulgaria.

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