The German companies Knauf Gruppe, GP Günter Papenburg AG, and Roxtec, as well as the German Institute of Lithium (ITEL) have formed a consortium aimed at developing and producing lithium from deposits in Kazakhstan, the Kazakh Ministry of Industry and Construction has announced, adding that the move opens up new prospects for the development of the lithium industry in the country. The initiative was discussed during a meeting in Germany between Kazakhstan’s minister of industry and construction, Kanat Sharlapaev, and Manfred Grundke, member of the supervisory board of GP Günter Papenburg AG. The parties have agreed to create a working group aimed at exploring the potential for cooperation in the field of lithium mining and use. The Ministry of Industry and Construction earlier this month said that Kazakhstan produces 19 of the 34 critical raw materials listed by the European Union. Kazakhstan also has the potential to establish a cluster for the production of battery raw materials such as nickel, cobalt, manganese, and lithium, which are essential for the production of electric vehicles.
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From May 1st Uzbekistan will introduce a permanent ban on the mining of non-metallic materials in the riverbeds of the Chirchik, Sangzor, Zarafshan, Naryn, Kashkadarya and Surkhandarya rivers. Permits to extract sand and gravel materials from river beds and other water areas will only be granted through the electronic trading platform E-Auksion. This proposal was made jointly by the Ministry of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change and the Ministry of Mines and Geology, and was approved by president Shavkat Mirziyoyev on January 17th. The boundaries of the areas covered by the ban will be determined by the Cabinet of Ministers. During the moratorium period there will be a tenfold increase in the fines imposed for environmental damage caused to these areas as a result of illegal extraction. These fines will be directed to the country's ecological fund. The ban prohibits the extraction of sand and gravel materials in river beds and other water areas, as well as other extraction works on other deposits located in mountainous or foothill (land) areas.
Kyrgyzstan's state enterprise Kyrgyzgeologiya will begin exploration work at the iron deposit "Zhetim Too" in the Naryn region. The country's Cabinet of Ministers granted the entity the right to use subsurface resources for geological exploration at the deposit. The development of the iron deposit was one of the election promises of the current President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Sadyr Zhaparov. In 2020, Zhaparov said he was considering paying off the state debt to China with raw materials from the deposit. "This is a project that will pull our economy out of the swamp," the future head of state had declared while campaigning before the presidential election. Geologists predict that the "Zhetim-Too" deposit could earn $200 million a year. But it's not only about earning and selling raw materials abroad. At the "People's Kurultay" (i.e., people's parliament), the President noted that at the moment, the Kyrgyz Republic spends millions of dollars a year to buy iron to build railroads, hydroelectric power plants and other structures in the country. "In the future, we intend to use our own iron ore deposits and build modern plants to process iron ore and manufacture products from it instead of buying iron from outside," Zhaparov said. It should be noted that earlier attempts to start work at the "Zhetim Too" deposit ended in a political scandal and high-profile dismissals of officials. At one time, various foreign mining companies worked at the deposit, which caused discontent among local residents. Rallies were repeatedly held in nearby villages. In 2012, the Kyrgyz authorities sued the Chinese company Mylin Resources for the license of the deposit. Since 2016, the license for exploration and development of the subsoil of "Zhetim Too" has belonged to the state. Kyrgyzstan's geologists have previously stated that the exploration of the deposit will take at least five years. After all, it is necessary to assess the reserves of the deposit and the depth of their occurrence, as well as to study the composition of the soil and what percentage of it contains metals. There are also issues of ecology, environmental protection and construction of necessary infrastructure. Additionally, relic forests of the Naryn Reserve are located near the deposit. "Zhetim Too" was discovered in 1956 at the junction of Naryn and Issyk-Kul oblasts of Kyrgyzstan. Iron reserves at the deposit were estimated from 3 to 10 billion tons. The Association of Mining Industries of Kyrgyzstan calls the site one of the largest iron ore deposits in the world. However, the deposit has been explored only superficially so far and requires additional exploration. The approximate cost of exploration is estimated at more than 20 million U.S. dollars.
ASHGABAT (TCA) — At the Turkmen Government meeting on November 22, Deputy Prime Minister overseeing oil and gas Myratgeldi Meredov briefed President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov that in the course of the exploration works carried out in the country’s Balkan province, major deposits of iron ore had been discovered, independent foreign-based news website Chronicles of Turkmenistan reported. Continue reading
TASHKENT (TCA) — Major nuclear fuel cycle company Orano has signed a partnership agreement with the Uzbek State, represented by the State Committee for Geology and Mineral Resources (GoscomGeology) to develop mining exploration and operations activities in Uzbekistan, the French company said on September 4. The two partners have decided to create a joint venture which will be established in few months, with 51% held by Orano and 49% held by GoscomGeology. This agreement formalizes the desire of both parties to work together on uranium mining projects in Uzbekistan, in particular in the Navoi region in a desert area at the heart of the uranium-rich province of Kyzylkum. The two partners plan to conduct borehole drilling works in the area to improve the classification of resources already identified by GoscomGeology and discover new uranium resources. The first works in the field are planned to commence in the first half of 2020. "We are happy with and proud of this agreement which is part of the geographical diversification of the group's mining activities and consolidates its presence in Central Asia,” said Nicolas Maes, Senior Executive Vice President of Orano's Mining Business Unit. “It helps to strengthen relations within the framework of cooperation between France and Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan has extensive experience in the mining of uranium deposits by ISR, and combined with Orano's experience, this gives this project the solid foundations expected to move into new territories and develop innovative solutions capable of improving our productivity and thus meet our customers' expectations." Bobir Islamov, Chairman of the State Committee of Uzbekistan on Geology and Mineral Resources said: "Uzbekistan is rich in mineral resources and has a developed mining industry. The country mines major deposits such as the Muruntau gold deposit, the Kalmakyr porphyry copper deposit, and the Uchkuduk uranium mines in the province of Kyzylkum. The partnership agreement we are signing with Orano is about consolidating our efforts and carrying out mutually beneficial projects in order to diversify our uranium industry and create new production capacities by combining the expertise and experience of both parties. We believe cooperating with a reliable partner such as Orano, which has vast expertise and experience as well as a stable place in the global uranium market, will contribute to the success of the projects carried out by the JV we are creating. The agreement signed today is a symbolic event and will, without doubt, contribute to the development of a good relationship and friendship between France and Uzbekistan."
BISHKEK (TCA) — The operation of China’s Zhong Ji Mining Company at the Solton-Sary gold mine in Kyrgyzstan’s Naryn province has been suspended following clashes between local residents and workers from the Chinese company. Continue reading