The Government of Uzbekistan wants to make gold one of the primary sources of income for the country, through the exploitation and development of its abundant mining regions. It becomes one of the five largest producers of this metal in the world.
According to Resource World Magazine, Uzbekistan wants to become one of the largest gold producers in the coming years.
The latest data published by the Uzbek State Geology Committee, the country currently has 63 large areas with gold ore. They together contain total reserves of more than 2,500 tons of gold and available reserves of about 5,990 tons.
Of these 63 areas, at least nine are currently under development. The number is going to increase in the short term.
The development of these plans is part of the order given last year by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirzeev to the country’s government to increase the country’s gold and silver production.
The gold production in Uzbekistan totaled 89.9 tons in 2017 and 88.5 in 2019. It is expected to increase shortly to exceed 100. The country ranks twelfth place among the world ‘s largest producers of gold.
The Uzbekistan Government Projects to Develop the Muruntau Mine
Resource World Magazine explains that the development of the gold mining industry began at the end of the 1960s. Then the Soviet Government gave the green light to the development of the Muruntau mine, one of the largest gold deposits in the world.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, most projects faced abandonment. They had only started their operations in recent years when Uzbekistan announced its plans to invest $750 million. Most of the money comes from public funds.
The Muruntau mine sits in the mountains of the Navoi region, southwest of the Kyzyl Kum desert. It was discovered in 1958. Then, its commercial development began in July 1969.
The gold produced at plants operated by Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combine, NMMC, account for around 70% of the country’s production.
The Uzbekistan Government’s plans go through the development of the Muruntau mine, using the processing capacity of NMMC. Since 1991, NMMC’s four plants have tripled the volume of ore processed, while gold production has increased by almost 40%.
The development of Muruntau mine will involve the participation of foreign investors. The Uzbek government has a particular interest in attracting investors from Canada. One of them is Vancouver-based miner B2Gold Corp, which already announced its intention to conduct geological exploration at three potential gold deposits in the Navoi region. The company has not ruled out the possibility of starting commercial exploitation of Uzbekistan gold once the exploration phase is complete.
The Uzbek government hopes that international partners’ entry will introduce the most modern gold extraction technologies in the country. It will allow local miners to take advantage of it and leap forward.
Furthermore, the Uzbek government has set the objective to increase gold reserves to 474 tons.
Gold remains one of the leading export products from Uzbekistan. Most of the metal gets exporteto Switzerland.