Will Berridge | The tale of the copper town

Day and night freight trains depart the town of Alaverdi in Northern Armenia with a cargo of pure copper and slowly make their way across the nearby Georgian border and onwards to Russia; taking with them any hope that the people have of economic survival. At the peak of Soviet Armenia almost 50,000 tons of copper were produced in Alaverdi.

Now the once prosperous Vallex copper factory is in a state of rapid decline, from employing 3,000 men at its peak, there are now only 250 employees left. Facing a declining population, a lack of opportunities, unemployment and serious health problems – due in part to the constant stream of pollution and smoke pumped into the air from the factory – Alaverdi faces many challenges to survive in the post Soviet era.



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