Ishita Ayan Dutt / Kolkata July 09, 2008, 0:37 IST NMDC Spice International, a proposed 50:50 joint venture between state-owned miner NMDC and Spice Minerals and Metals, a part of the Spice Energy group, is close to acquiring two iron ore deposits in Armenia. The acquisition is likely to entail an investment of $500 million (Rs 2,173 crore). NMDC Chairman and Managing Director Rana Som said two iron ore deposits had been identified with reserves of 300 million tonnes and 75 million tonnes and the final discussion over the acquisition will be held by the weekend.

• The European Union has banned imports of untreated feathers from countries close to or neighbouring Turkey, where cases of avian flu have been recently reported. The countries affected by the ban are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Amidst protests from environmental groups, the Armenian government has given the go-ahead to an open-pit copper mine in the Teghut forest. The project is considered the largest mine in the