Industrial production in Karabakh to increase in post-conflict period - CAERC head
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Oct. 26
The victorious march of the Azerbaijani army under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev continues, and Karabakh is being liberated from occupation, Head of CAERC, Doctor of Economics Vusal Gasimli said, Trend report.
"The Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication is seriously analyzing the prospects for economic development of Karabakh in the post-conflict period," he said.
According to him, Karabakh has the potential for the development of the mining, metallurgical sectors, as well as food and electricity production industries.
"Karabakh has a great potential for industrial development, and new assessment of resources will allow to have a more accurate vision," he said.
“The vast forests of the mountainous zone of the Lesser Caucasus are important for the development of the timber and tourism industries. The total forest area of the region is about 246,700 hectares, including 13,200 hectares of valuable forests," Gasimli said. "The area of specially protected natural areas in our country has reached up to 890,000 hectares with 42,300 hectares of them being nder occupation”, he said.
Vusal Gasimli also noted that after the end of the occupation, the Mountainous and Aran zones of Karabakh will be integrated in terms of industrial production. In his opinion, in Soviet times, Nagorno-Karabakh developed in close economic ties with the Aran zone and other economic regions of Azerbaijan.
“Roads running in all directions created close economic ties between two areas. The overwhelming majority of enterprises located on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh functioned on the basis of fuel, raw materials and materials imported from regions of Azerbaijan, and many worked as branches of large enterprises in Baku. In 1985, only 8 percent of cocoon raw materials supplied to the silk factory in Khankendi were produced in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the remaining 92 percent were imported from other regions of Azerbaijan," Gasimli said.
"At that time, the center of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region Khankendi was directly connected with the railways and highways of Azerbaijan and, in general, with the transport and communication system of the country. The railway distance from Khankendi to Baku is 392 km. In short, before the occupation, Karabakh always developed as a part of the economy of Azerbaijan".
Speaking about industrial areas, Gasimli also touched upon the electricity production potential provided by water resources.
“In the post-conflict period, the Sarsang reservoir with a capacity of 50 MW and the Khudaferin reservoir with a capacity of 280 MW, as well as other large and small power generation plants will be able to meet the needs Karabakh in energy. In general, the inclusion of these power plants in the country's energy system means not only an increase in capacity, but also a geographic diversification of sources, that is, a decrease in the load on Absheron, Shirvan and Mingachevir, as well as a growth in the share of alternative (renewable) energy production in the total production," he explained.
He added that industrial and recreational opportunities of the region will also be widely used in the post-conflict period.
“It is assumed that up to 40 percent of the mineral water reserves of Azerbaijan were under occupation. In the occupied territories, there are about 120 deposits of mineral water of various composition and medical value. This means a supply of 7805 m3 / day of mineral water. Yukhary and Ashagi Istisu, Bagyrsag, Keshdak mineral water springs of the Kalbajar region, Ilygsu, Minkend in the Lachin region, and Turshsu, Syrlan in the Shusha region and other mineral waters attract special attention. Mineral waters of Istisu, located on the territory of the Kalbajar region, are distinguished by their favorable gas and chemical composition, high temperature, and natural resources. As in the 1980s, a large resort and the mineral water bottling industry can be revived at the Istisu spring. The same approach can be applied at the Turshsu mineral spring in Shusha”, said Gasimli.
The Center for the Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication estimates that 250,000 hectares of land that is under occupation and 120,000 hectares of unused land located near the former contact line could potentially be used for crop rotation in the post-conflict period.
Gasimli believes that this substantiates development of the processing and food industry in Karabakh.
Gasimli also said that Karabakh has great potential for the development of the mining and metallurgical industries.
“Of course, we need to re-evaluate industrial resources. There are 155 different types of mineral deposits in the occupied territories, including 5 gold, 6 mercury, 2 copper, 1 lead and zinc, 19 facing stone, and other deposits. Imagine that the world market price for confirmed industrial-purpose gold reserves in the amount of 132.6 tons are about $8 billion. Deposits of rare and valuable minerals are widespread in the region. Reserves of significant copper-zinc ores are concentrated in the Mehman deposits located in the eastern part of the Lesser Caucasus. Moreover, the Shorbulag and Agyatag deposits of the Kalbajar region have industrial mercury reserves," he said.
Gasimli said the occupied territories are very rich in various types of building materials, which are of great importance for the industry and construction of Azerbaijan.
"There are large reserves of such materials at the Chobandag, Shahbulag, Boyakhmedli and other deposits located in the Aghdam region. Also, large deposits of building stone are located in Khankendi, and marble - in Kharov," he said.
Gasimli also stressed that Karabakh can turn into the center of the creative industry of Azerbaijan.
"Development of music, literature, crafts, theater, carpet weaving and other creative industries is possible in Karabakh," he said.