By Kamila Aliyeva
The Uzbek State Committee for Geology and Mineral Resources and the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources signed an agreement on geological exploration.
Exploration will be carried out at the promising areas - Khurob, Aydim-Dzhetymtau and Sarytau ore field - in two regions of Uzbekistan.
Turkish side will explore gold in Khurob square, located in the Djizak region, in the mountains of Northern Nuratau. Two other deposits are in the Navoi region. Aidim-Dzhetymtau is in the Bukantau Mountains and gold exploration will be carried out here as well.
Sarytau ore field is one of the most perspective objects in the Turbay mountains. According to preliminary estimates, there are deposits of gold - 75 tons, molybdenum – 24,000 tons, and tungsten – 740,000 tons.
“The total cost of the project, calculated for three years, is $ 5 million. The Turkish side will invest in stages depending on the result of geological exploration,” the State Committee for Geology said.
Earlier, Uzbekistan and the Russian company, RosGeoPerspectiva, concluded an agreement to carry out geological exploration work to find copper and gold in the promising areas of Kazakhtau and Kazakhtau 1 in Navoi region of Uzbekistan. In the first year, the Russians plan to invest at least $ 3 million in the work.
In addition, the Central Asian country is working to resume cooperation with the Australian-British Rio Tinto. In 2012, the Uzbek State Committee for Geology issued a five-year license to the company to conduct geological exploration to identify copper in the perspective area of Gava in the Namangan region. In 2015, after the completion of the first stage of exploration, Rio Tinto decided to suspend the project due to unfavorable world prices.
Uzbekistan has large mineral reserves, which include more than 1,800 known mineral deposits. The country’s mineral resources include petroleum, natural gas, gold, silver, uranium, molybdenum, tungsten, coal, copper, zinc and lead. Uranium, copper and gold are the country’s chief minerals. The volume of proven and confirmed gold reserves in Uzbekistan is about 2,100 tons. The total reserves are approximately 3,350 tons.
Currently, according to the decision of the Uzbek government, 29 deposits and 111 promising areas of solid minerals are offered to foreign investors. They include 12 deposits and 31 promising areas for precious metals (gold, silver), 18 non-ferrous metals (copper, lead and zinc), 14 deposits as well as 51 areas for rare and rare-earth metals and uranium.
The lists of the deposits and promising areas offered to foreign investors will be updated every five years taking into account newly obtained geological information.
With regards to the gold, this list includes deposits of mainly gold-quartz and gold-sulfide ores in four regions of the country - Tashkent, Samarkand, Navoi regions, as well as the autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan. The total reserves of the proposed deposits (category C2) are more than 14.5 tons of gold.
Attraction of the foreign investors comes from the following factors. Firstly, Uzbekistan has significant resources for increasing capacities of the operating enterprise and creation of new ones. Secondly, the Republic possesses a highly developed efficiency of the mineral industry, a favorable infrastructure and highly skilled manpower. Thirdly, many deposits can be developed by open mining which is the cheapest method. Finally, Uzbekistan has the favorable investment climate provided by «The Subsoil Law» and a support by the governing bodies.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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