• KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01185 0.85%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09377 -0.21%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 2

Kyrgyzstan Lifts Ban on Mining of Uranium and Thorium

Deputies of the Kyrgyz Parliament have approved a bill lifting the ban on mining uranium and thorium by 69 votes in favor to three against. Parliamentarians are confident that the legislative changes will bring significant economic dividends to the country. The law banning uranium and thorium mining was passed in 2019. At that time, authorities wanted to sell the license to develop a deposit, but faced a significant pushback from residents who feared the project could harm the environment and damage the water table. The result was a complete ban on the entire territory of the Republic. In the Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan alone, 150,000 cubic meters of radioactive waste were accumulated from uranium mining in the last century. According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the country has 92 burial sites, with 23 tailing dumps containing uranium elements. Kyrgyzstan's total volume of poisonous and hazardous substances stands at 2.9 million cubic meters. The notes behind the new bill indicate that alternative sources of income are needed due to severe economic impacts over recent years. However, these activities must strictly comply with environmental norms and standards in uranium and thorium mining. Speaking in parliament, Minister of Natural Resources, Environment, and Technical Supervision, Melis Turganbayev assured deputies that the bill's passage would not harm the environment or the health of Kyrgyz citizens. “For uranium mining to be profitable, a deposit needs 40-50 tons. Kyrgyzstan lacks such reserves. There are occurrences from 0.01 to 0.08% in 83 locations. Our goal is not the uranium, but the associated metals,” Turganbayev said. Authorities plan to mine titanomagnetite, which is accompanied by uranium and thorium. Both elements will be processed at the Kara-Balta Combine in Chui Oblast. Thorium will be stored, while uranium will be sold to other states. Iskhak Masaliyev, one of the three deputies who voted against the bill, reminded his colleagues of discussions in the early 2000s on ecology. However, only now has it been possible to begin to eliminate harmful waste. Doctor of Geological and Mineral Sciences, academician Rozalia Jenchuraeva told The Times of Central Asia that the 2019 law banning mining was “a big folly” as it suspended all waste activities and impacted jobs, leaving hazardous materials lying no more than 20 meters deep are slowly contaminating the soil and water. “If they pull it all out, it will be wonderful. It will clean up the land. This is work for the Kara-Balta Combine. I think the government has decided to develop Kyzyl-Ompol, which is the right thing to do,” Jenchuraeva said. Jenchuraeva believes that Kyrgyzstan has qualified personnel who have previously worked at uranium sites, know how to mine uranium and thorium, and can develop the deposits using their expertise and resources. Earlier, President Japarov met with residents near the Kyzyl-Ompol deposit. “The development of Kyzyl-Ompol will create over a thousand jobs. This mine will become the second Kumtor (gold deposit). The local budget will cease to be subsidized, and the people will get richer,” the president said. Kyzyl-Ompol is...

“At a Crossroads” – Atlantic Council Addresses Rare Earth Elements in Central Asia

On January 23rd, the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and the International Tax and Investment Center gathered together the authors of the report, “Leveraging Central Asia’s Rare Earth Elements for Economic Growth.” The report highlights the potential of Central Asia, which has remained underappreciated in terms of its rare earth elements (REE) resources, despite its increasing geopolitical significance. China currently dominates the global mining and refining of REEs, giving it a near-monopoly status. The report argues that this scenario calls for an urgent need to diversify global supply chains and suggests that Western investment could play a pivotal role in exploring and mining Central Asia's REEs, thereby contributing to the diversification of supply chains. Furthermore, such investment could have far-reaching implications for the region itself, bolstering regional integration and sovereignty, spurring economic growth, and enhancing economic freedom throughout Central Asia. Opening the discussion, Ariel Cohen, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Eurasia Center of the Atlantic Council, highlighted the critical geopolitical location of Central Asia, stating that REEs “may be the next big thing in Central Asia at the engine of economic growth.” Cohen praised the “visionary multi-vector policy pioneered” in Kazakhstan by President Tokayev, and characterized Kazakhstan’s relationship with Russia as “very fraught,” and defined by “multi-generational trauma. Nuclear energy is zero emission energy,” he said, but for the U.S. to capitalize on opportunities for mining REEs in Kazakhstan, “we need to do more and better.” The President of Second Floor Strategies, a public policy consulting company, Wilder Alejandro Sánchez emphasized that Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are the most “forward-looking” nations in Central Asia in regard to REEs, whilst mining in Kyrgyzstan remains stuck in a “legal limbo,” and Tajikistan currently lacks the necessary critical infrastructure. Nether the less, he stated, REEs could become a driving factor behind regional “cooperation and integration.” Wesley Hill, an International Program Manager at the Energy, Growth, and Security Program of the International Tax and Investment Center, spoke about the international relations components of REEs. “In the same way we competed and continued to compete for other energy resources, most especially crude oil, we will be competing for REEs,” he stated. “It's happening already, this geopolitical clash [which is] primarily driven by competition between the United States and China. After the publication of this report, Beijing cut off all exports of rare earth element refining technologies to the United States. Central Asia is very much at a crossroads,” he stated. Addressing this geopolitical conflict with China over REEs, Ambassador John Herbst, a Senior Director at the Eurasia Center of the Atlantic Council, stated that Central Asia is a “critical region… rich in rare earth minerals [whilst] China is our principal adversary. They are not a friend of the United States.” Finally, Suriya Evans-Pritchard Jayanti, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Eurasia Center of the Atlantic Council, characterized REEs as an “extremely important development opportunity” for Central Asia, particularly given “geostrategic energy realignment after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I think it's a geostrategic realignment opportunity for...