RESOURCES IN KYRGYZSTAN

RESOURCES IN KYRGYZSTAN

Kyrgyzstan’s only mineral resource of significant economic value is gold. Substantial amounts of antimony and coal are present, but economic factors preclude large-scale exploitation. Kyrgyzstan also has deposits of mercury, tin, tungsten, uranium oxide, rare earth metals; locally exploitable coal, oil, and natural gas; other deposits of nepheline, bismuth, lead, and zinc. There is abundant hydropower. [Source: CIA World Factbook, Library of Congress, January 2007 **]

Kyrgyzstan's problem is that has little that anyone wants. It doesn’t have many resources to exploit except the gold taken from a single mine and the energy generated from the rivers that flow out of its mountains. It has other natural resources but they are not worth that much to begin with and are expensive to extract and transport.

According to Central Asian Geoportal: Kyrgyzstan mineral resources base includes deposits of precious, non-ferrous and rare metals, non-ore minerals, fuel and power resources, fresh underground and thermal and mineral water. There are large deposits of coal, mercury, antimony, uranium, tin, zinc, lead, tungsten, wollastonite, rare-earth metals and nephelinic syenites. Antimony fields are famous for the high quality of raw materials. There are dozens of iron fields in Kyrgyzstan, but they are underexplored. Drilling works were conducted only on the Nadyr deposit (Kadamdjaisky district); the remaining ones were subjected to surface geological studies. Only a few ore occurrences of manganese have been identified. [Source: Central Asian Geoportal geoportal-tj.org]

Kyrgyzstan’s Kumtor gold mine has been rated as the seventh biggest in terms of world importance. Run by Centerra Gold, a Toronto-based mining company, it contributed nearly 10 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s gross domestic product in the mid 2000s. Kyrgyzstan was once a major producer of mercury. Its antimony reserves are near exhaustion. Most of the uranium used in the Soviet weapons program and at Soviet nuclear plants came from Kyrgyzstan. The uranium industry collapsed after independence.

Resources in Central Asia

Central Asia contains enormous natural resources. All five republics have some combination of attractive minerals and fuels. Their industrial bases include trained workers, and their populations have relatively high educational levels and literacy rates. Unfortunately, the moribund, highly inefficient system through which the Soviet Union exploited those resources has proved very difficult to disassemble. The Central Asians have suffered all the typical transitional ills of former communist states moving toward a market economy: erratic supply of critical industrial inputs, increased unemployment, sharply increased inflation, declining capacity utilization and output by industry, and acute shortages of goods. In response, all five governments have pledged meaningful reform, but obstacles such as unworkable government structure, ethnic rivalries, and a variety of social tensions have made all five move cautiously. [Source: Library of Congress]

Ilan Greenberg wrote in the New York Times: “Central Asia is a trove of gold, silver, copper, coal, nonferrous metals and uranium, in addition to oil and gas, and there are plans to transform the region into a vast economy of extraction. The world’s most voracious economy, next door in China, has created lucrative markets that have governments and villagers alike across Central Asia focusing more acutely on digging for minerals.” “Mining is now starting to become the government priority,” said Andrew Sasanov, vice president of governmental relations at Centerra Gold, a Toronto-based mining company that already contributes nearly 10 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s gross domestic product. [Source: Ilan Greenberg, New York Times, September 5, 2006 +++]

“China’s need for Central Asian materials is not limited to what is under the ground. Along China’s snaking border with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, anything made of metal is fair game. At night villagers steal hubcaps, roof tiles from houses, even manhole covers to sell in bazaars across the border.” +++

Energy and Mineral Deposits in Kyrgyzstan

Soviet geologists have estimated Kyrgyzstan's coal reserves at about 27 billion tons, of which the majority remained entirely unexploited in the mid-1990s. About 3 billion tons of that amount are judged to be of highest quality. This coal has proven difficult to exploit, however, because most of it is in small deposits deep in the mountains. Kyrgyzstan also has oil resources; small deposits of oil-bearing shale have been located in southern Kyrgyzstan, and part of the Fergana oil and natural gas complex lies in Kyrgyzstani territory. In the Osh region, four pools of oil, four of natural gas, and four mixed pools have been exploited since the 1950s; however, the yield of all of them is falling in the 1990s. In 1992 their combined output was 112,000 tons of oil and 65 million cubic meters of natural gas, compared with the republic's annual consumption of 2.5 million tons of oil and 3 billion cubic meters of natural gas. [Source: Library of Congress, March 1996 *]

Kyrgyzstan's iron ore deposits are estimated at 5 billion tons, most containing about 30 percent iron. Copper deposits in the mountains are located in extremely complex mineral deposits, making extraction costly. The northern mountains also contain lead, zinc, molybdenum, vanadium, and bismuth. The south has deposits of bauxite and mercury.

Kyrgyzstan was the Soviet Union's main supplier of mercury, but in the 1990s plummeting mercury prices have damaged the international market. A tin and tungsten mine was 80 percent complete in 1995. Kyrgyzstan had a virtual monopoly on supplying antimony to the Soviet Union, but post-Soviet international markets are small and highly specialized. Uranium, which was in high demand for the Soviet Union's military and atomic energy programs, no longer is mined in Kyrgyzstan.

Mining in Kyrgyzstan

In the post-Soviet era, mining has been an increasingly important economic activity. The Kumtor Gold Mine, which opened in 1997, is based on one of the largest gold deposits in the world. Several other gold deposits have been developed slowly, and the closing of Kumtor—expected by 2010—will deplete the contribution of the mining sector to gross domestic product. New gold mines are planned at Jerooy and Taldy–Bulak, and a major gold discovery was announced at Tokhtonysay in late 2006. The state agency Kyrgyzaltyn owns all mines, many of which are operated as joint ventures with foreign companies. [Source: Library of Congress, January 2007 **]

Uranium and antimony, important mineral outputs of the Soviet era, no longer are produced in significant amounts. Although between 1992 and 2003 coal output dropped from about 2.4 million tons to411,000 tons, the government plans to increase exploitation of Kyrgyzstan’s considerable remaining deposits (estimated at 2.5 billion tons) in order to reduce dependency on foreign energy sources. A particular target of this policy is the Kara–Keche deposit in northern Kyrgyzstan, whose annual output capability is estimated at between 500,000 and 1 million tons. The small domestic output of oil and natural gas does not meet national needs. **

Although Kyrgyzstan has one of the largest proven gold reserves in the world, in the early 1990s fuel and spare parts shortages combined with political disputes to hamper output. Production in 1994 was 3.5 tons, but the output goal for 1996 was ten tons. Kyrgyzstan's major energy source, water, has also been discussed as a commercial product. The export of bottled mineral and fresh water was the object of several unrealized plans in the mid-1990s.

The Soviet Union's largest gold mine was located at Makmal in Kyrgyzstan, and in the Soviet period Kyrgyzstan's 170 proven deposits put it in third place behind only Russia and Uzbekistan in gold production in the union. Two more promising deposits, at Kumtor and Jerui, have been discovered. [Source: Library of Congress, March 1996 *]

Soviet-era mines caused a great deal of environmental damage. The uranium mines in particular left behind radioactive tailing and contaminated water supplies. The full extent of the damage is unknown. Norway has pledged to help Kyrgyzstan remove a uranium waste dump in the mountainous, southern Mayly Suu area that threatens the Fergana Valley.

According to Central Asian Geoportal: Kyrgyzstan has a large explored raw materials base of tin, tungsten, antimony, hydrargyrum, beryllium and rare-earth elements. Development of non-ferrous industry in the country is slow due to decrease in demand and regular price reduction at the market. In recent years, production of antimony and hydrargyrum has considerably decreased, mining of rare-earth elements has stopped. [Source: Central Asian Geoportal geoportal-tj.org <>]

Further development of non-ferrous metallurgy has the following objectives: 1) improvement of benefication technology for arsenic-containing antimonic ores of the Kassan deposit and for high-grade oxide ore of the Terek deposit for development purposes; 2) revaluation of the raw material base of antimony, beryllium and rare earths by subsoil users as well as improvement of the processing technology; 3) investment generation for development of non-ferrous metallurgy enterprises and carrying out of prospecting works. Creation of congenial investment climate and settlement of problems arising in the process of obtainment of permits at all state levels will promote generation of private investment in the mining industry and carrying out of prospecting and eplration for all types of minerals.

Mining Silicon Among Uranium Waste in Kyrgyzstan

In a dump near the Kyrgyzstan town of Orlovka, residents earn about $10 a day digging for silicon but risk exposure to radiation from uranium waste. Reporting from Orlovka,Ilan Greenberg wrote in the New York Times: “Sifting black earth inside her hole, 14-year-old Nurzada Meerim admits to breathing problems. “But here is money,” she said, holding up a crinkled silver flake. Across a vast landfill just outside this tiny farming town in eastern Kyrgyzstan, the heads of girls continually pop up from narrowly constructed 10-foot shafts. Mothers and other female relatives wait on the rim, hands outstretched to take the flakes and gnarled pebbles of silicon that the girls have retrieved from the soil. There are some men, too, and they bark threats to outsiders who walk past their holes. [Source: Ilan Greenberg, New York Times, September 5, 2006 +++]

“The landfill covers the garbage cast off from a shuttered factory that produced mostly trinkets and souvenirs from silicon-bearing rock, as well as waste sent from a nearby Soviet-era uranium mine. Flattened plastic bottles carpet the area. Local environmentalists and doctors who have visited the landfill have warned the Kyrgyz government of the site’s health risks, especially from high levels of radiation. But few salvagers of silicon in Orlovka can afford to let health issues stop their unsanctioned digging. +++

“It is China’s rapidly expanding computer chip industry that is fueling the rush for Orlovka silicon, which is sold by middlemen in the bazaars to Chinese traders in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. “They are getting rich,” an older woman standing near one of the digging holes said of the traders. “They are protected. But I say we sell them everything. It is just the garbage left by Lenin.” +++

“Outsiders are not welcome in Orlovka. Asked for directions to the mine, a local farmer replied, “Silicon Valley is in California.” The men among the silicon diggers are especially wary of visitors, encircling outsiders who get close to their holes, some brandishing their short shovels like weapons. “Don’t say anything!” one woman screamed from inside her hole, warning the others away from a visiting reporter. “We will get shut down, and then I would like to know, where will you work?”“ +++

Digging for Silicon Among Uranium Waste in Kyrgyzstan

Ilan Greenberg wrote in the New York Times: “Most holes are family-run. Nurzada works her hole for about nine hours every day with her mother and 16-year old sister. Both daughters, the mother insisted, will attend school in the fall with textbooks bought with money earned from digging silicon. The family was initially lured by rumors earlier in the summer that silicon diggers were hitting jackpots: large rocks worth as much as $25,000 for their silicon content. [Source: Ilan Greenberg, New York Times, September 5, 2006 +++]

“But girls from Orlovka, a bucolic settlement of potato farms and small cattle ranches, and the people from the other nearby villages who take to the holes typically earn $10 a day for the approximately 200 grams of silicon slivers they manage to separate from the garbage and soil. It is an excellent income in a country where more than 40 percent of the population live under the poverty line and the gross domestic product, at official exchange rates, is just $266 per capita, according to the International Monetary Fund. The Central Intelligence Agency puts the figure at a still paltry $2,100, using what is perhaps a more realistic measure of purchasing power. “It doesn’t feel like work,” Nurzada said disingenuously as she glanced toward her mother, her face a spider web of dark lines from the sun.” +++

“Nearby, a stooped woman wearing a smock swirled in purple and red, who insisted on being called only “Grandmother,” bundled her silicon pebbles and headed to a silicon bazaar. There, among vegetable sellers and old men who shuffled along selling tin foil, Chinese middlemen perched over rusty metal scales were doling out money for silicon.“When this mine is finished I hope we can find another one,” she said. “Nobody cares about this region. We can all starve to death and nobody will notice our bodies.”“ +++

Gold Deposits in Kyrgyzstan

Gold deposits are concentrated in Talas Province in north-central Kyrgyzstan, where as much as 200 tons may exist; deposits in Makmal are estimated at sixty tons. Deposits adjacent to the Chatkal River in the northwest amount to an estimated 150 tons. [Source: Library of Congress, March 1996 *]

According to Central Asian Geoportal: The State Register of Reserves of the Kyrgyz Republic has the following explored reserves of 42 gold and complex deposits as of 01 January 2013: ore – 166.4 millions of tonnes, gold – 616.4 tonnes. Characteristics of deposits indicated in the State Register are given below: 1) Kumtor deposit. Under development by Kumtor Gold Company since 1996. Initial reserves in the contour of a new open pit are 109.1 million tonnes of ore and 396.1 tonnes of gold. 78 million tonnes of ore and 304.8 tonnes of gold were depleted from 1996 to 2012. Pit reserves remaining for development as of 01 January 2013 amount to 28.8 million tonnes of ore and 91.3 tonnes of gold.

Sarytor area of Kumtor deposit. Explored reserves amount to 1995.6 thousand tonnes of ore and 8.5 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 4.26 g/t.[Source: Central Asian Geoportal geoportal-tj.org <>]

2) Makmal deposit. Under development since 1986. Explored reserves amount to 1.0 million tonnes of ore and 7.6 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 7.59g/t. Mining of pit reserves was completed in 2003. Mining of underground reserves with simultaneous processing of stockpiled, out of balance ore commenced in 2003. In order to extend the mine life, timely exploration of the Vostochnyi Flang (eastern flank) and Dioritovyi (dioritic) areas is required, as well as pre-exploration of inferred resources at deep levels of the deposit amounting in total to 3.5 million tonnes of ore and 22.6 tonnes of gold is necessary. <>

3) Jerui deposit. Explored reserves amount to 11.5 million tonnes of ore and 80.9 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 7.03 g/t. 4) Taldybulak Levoberejnyi deposit. Explored reserves amount to 13.34 million tonnes of ore and 77.7 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 5.82 g/t. 5) Chaarat deposit. Explored reserves amount to 23 million tonnes of ore and 76.7 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 3.33 g/t. 6) Tulkubash area of the Chaarat deposit. Explored reserves amount to 2.4 million tonnes of ore and 5.6 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 2.35 g/t. <>

7) Terek-Terekkan ore field: A) Terekkan deposit. Explored reserves amount to 580.6 thousand tonnes of ore and 4,684.5 kg of gold with the average grade of 8.07 g/t. B) Perevalnoye deposit. Explored reserves amount to 619 thousand tonnes of ore and 6,097 kg of gold with the average grade of 9.8 g/t. C) Interstratal ore body of the Terek deposit. Explored reserves amount to 61.4 thousand tonnes of ore and 1,477.4 kg of gold with the average grade of 24.1 g/t. D) Yuzhnyi area of the Terek deposit. Explored reserves amount to 332 thousand tonnes of ore and 233 kg of gold with the average grade of 0.7 g/t. E) Yuzhnyi area of the Terek deposit. Under development. Remaining reserves amount to 102.4 thousand tonnes of ore and 604.3 kg of gold with the average grade of 5.9 g/t. <>

8) Ishtamberdy deposit. Under development. Remaining reserves amount to 2,485 thousand tonnes of ore and 19,401 kg of gold with the average grade of 7.8 g/t. Vostochnyi area of the Ishtamberdy deposit. Explored reserves amount to 521.8 thousand tonnes of ore and 6,544 kg of gold with the average grade of 12.54 g/t. <>

9) Solton-Sary deposit. Includes two adjoining areas: Altyntor and Buchuk. Exploration and mining were carried out in the Altyntor area. Remaining explored reserves amount to 639.4 thousand tonnes of ore and 2,303.6 kg of gold with the average grade of 3.6 g/t. Prospect evaluation survey was carried out in the Buchuk area. According to the results, geological reserves amount to 3,571.8 thousand tonnes of ore and 12.05 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 3.37 g/t. <>

10) Kuru-Tegerek deposit. Explored reserves amount to 36.5 million tonnes of ore, 39.2 tonnes of gold and 354.6 thousand tonnes of copper with the average grade of 1.075 g/t and 0.97 percent. 11) Jamgyr deposit. Under development. Remaining explored reserves indicated in the State Register amount to 31.7 thousand tonnes of ore and 613.4 kg of gold with the average grade of 19.35 g/t. The estimated geological reserves of the deposit amount to 411 thousand tonnes of ore and 4.8 tonnes of gold. 12) Unkurtash deposit. Explored reserves amount to 15.2 million tonnes of ore and 38.06 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 2.5 g/t. 13) Karatube deposit. Explored reserves amount to 1.8 million tonnes of ore and 4.85 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 2.73 g/t. 14) Shambesai deposit. Explored reserves amount to 1.3 million tonnes of ore and 6.25 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 4.78 g/t. <>

More Gold Deposits in Kyrgyzstan

According to Central Asian Geoportal: 15) Kuranjailoo deposit. Explored reserves amount to 125.9 thousand tonnes of ore and 1,992.9 kg of gold with the average grade of 15.8 g/t. 16 ) Nasonovskoye deposit. Explored reserves amount to 751 thousand tonnes of ore, 5,612 kg of gold and 4.6 thousand tonnes of copper with the average grade of 7.5 g/t and 0.6 percent. 17) Bozymchak deposit. Under development. Remaining explored reserves of the Central area amount to 14,555.6 thousand tonnes of ore, 23,788.5 kg of gold and 145.8 thousand tonnes of copper with the average grade of 1.64 g/t and 1 percent. 18) Togolok deposit. Explored reserves amount to 8,124 thousand tonnes of ore and 17,367.7 kg of gold with the average grade of 2.1 g/t. 19 ) Karakazyk deposit. Under development. Remaining reserves amount to 27.9 thousand tonnes of ore and 342.3 kg of gold with the average grade of 12.3 g/t. 20 ) Tokhtazan deposit. Explored reserves amount to 3,515 thousand tonnes of ore and 7,581 kg of gold with the average grade of 2.16 g/t. The estimated reserves and inferred resources of the deposit amount to 27.3 tonnes of gold. [Source: Central Asian Geoportal geoportal-tj.org <>]

21) Dolpran deposit. Explored reserves amount to 224 thousand tonnes of ore and 1,281 kg of gold with the average grade of 5.72 g/t. 22) Mironovskoye deposit. represents a complex copper-bismuth and gold deposit. Explored ore reserves amount to 1,564.5 thousand tonnes, gold - 2,660.5 kg, bismuth - 1,843.96 tonnes, silver - 75.1 tonnes, copper - 23,509.8 tonnes, plumbum - 8,268.3 tonnes with the average grade of 1.7 g/t, 0.12 percent, 48 g/t, 1.5 percent and 0.53 percent respectively.

23) Andash deposit. Explored reserves amount to 17.6 million tonnes of ore and 19.6 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 1.11 g/t. 24) Terek (Karkala) deposit. Explored reserves amount to 463.8 thousand tonnes of ore and 2,773.7 kg of gold with the average grade of 5.98 g/t. 25) Kich-Sandyk deposit. Explored reserves amount to 623.6 thousand tonnes of ore and 1,848.4 kg of gold with the average grade of 2.96 g/t. 26 ) Kumbel deposit, Zapadnyi area. Explored reserves amount to 260 thousand tonnes of ore and 1,285 kg of gold with the average grade of 4.95 g/t. 27 ) Karator deposit, Ozyornyi area. Explored reserves amount to 3,339.0 thousand tonnes and 5,370.5 kg of gold with the average grade of 1.6 g/t. 28 ) Chalkuiruk-Akjilga deposit. Geological reserves amount to 175 thousand tonnes of ore and 2.3 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 13.4 g/t.

29) Chapchama deposit. Geological reserves amount to 109 thousand tonnes of ore and 979 kg of gold with the average grade of 9.0 g/t. Reserves are recorded in the State Register as off-balance reserves. 30) Chonkymyzdykty deposit. Explored reserves amount to 164.5 thousand tonnes of ore and 663.1 kg of gold with the average grade of 4.03 g/t. 31) Karabulak deposit. Geological reserves amount to 1.4 million tonnes of ore and 2.55 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 1.78 g/t. 32) Altyn-Jylga deposit. Explored reserves amount to 1,073.0 thousand tonnes of ore and 7.14 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 6.65 g/t. 33) In addition, 141 kg of gold as an associated component are registered in Abshyr, antimony deposit.

Gold Prospecting Sites in Kyrgyzstan

According to Central Asian Geoportal: Except the explored deposits specified in the State Register, there are dozens of gold occurrences mainly examined at the stage of prospecting works. Their prospectivity is defined by the calculated P1 category inferred resources. Prospect evaluation survey was carried out in some areas and C2 category geological reserves and P1 category inferred resources were calculated. Availability of C2 category reserves and P1 category inferred resources indicates the prospectivity and necessity of further exploration. Current economic evaluation of practicability of exploration and development of ore occurrences listed below was not carried out. Their commercial value can be determined upon exploration and fulfilment of current economic evaluation. Currently exploration is in progress in all areas. [Source: Central Asian Geoportal geoportal-tj.org <>]

1) Shiraldjin. Geological reserves amount to 1.1 million tonnes of ore and 5.1 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 4.7 g/t. ?1 category inferred resources: ore - 2.1 million tonnes, gold - 9.9 tonnes, average grade - 4.7 g/t. 2) Nichkesu. Geological reserves amount to 315 thousand tonnes of ore and 2.2 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 7.0 g/t. 3) Chakush. Inferred resources amount to 1.0 million tonnes of ore and 6.0 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 5.8 g/t. <>

4) Turpaktushty. Geological reserves amount to 172 thousand tonnes of ore and 729 kg of gold with the average grade of 4.2 g/t. Inferred resources: ore - 400 thousand tonnes, gold - 1.6 tonnes, average grade - 4.0 g/t. 5) Akjol. Geological reserves amount to 122 thousand tonnes of ore and 645 kg of gold with the average grade of 5.3 g/t. Inferred resources: ore - 227 thousand tonnes, gold - 590 tonnes, average grade - 2.6 g/t. 6) Kurpsai. Inferred resources amount to 1.5 million tonnes of ore and 4.9 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 3.3 g/t. 7) Komator. Geological reserves amount to 299 thousand tonnes of ore and 2,971 kg of gold with the average grade of 9.9 g/t. 8) Jangart. Geological reserves amount to 500 thousand tonnes of ore and 4.0 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 8.1 g/t. Spektr LLC was issued a license for geological survey in 2003. Exploration is in progress. <>

5) Aktash. Geological reserves amount to 2.8 million tonnes of ore and 8.7 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 3.1 g/t. 6) Chonur. Inferred resources amount to 370 thousand tonnes of ore and 5.0 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 13.5 g/t. 7) Taldybulak. Inferred resources amount to 16.2 million tonnes of ore and 29.0 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 1.8 g/t. 8) Turuk. Geological reserves amount to 470 thousand tonnes of ore and 1.8 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 3.9 g/t. 9) Aksur. Geological reserves amount to 290 thousand tonnes of ore and 1.2 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 4.1 g/t. 10) Levoberezhnoye. Geological reserves amount to 85 thousand tonnes of ore and 1.1 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 13.0 g/t. 11) Savoyardy. Inferred resources amount to 1.2 million tonnes of ore and 8.1 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 6.5 g/t. <>

12) Aprelskoye. Geological reserves amount to 2,139.7 thousand tonnes of ore and 3,122.9 kg of gold with the average grade of 1.42 g/t. 13) Pervenets. Geological reserves amount to 4.7 thousand tonnes of ore and 94.1 kg of gold with the average grade of 20.12 g/t. 14) Malatash. Geological reserves amount to 117 thousand tonnes of ore and 634.5 kg of gold with the average grade of 5.42 g/t. Inferred resources amount to 1,210.2 thousand tonnes of ore and 7,866.5 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 6.5 g/t. 15) Tuyuk. Inferred resources amount to 650 thousand tonnes of ore and 4.2 tonnes of gold with the average grade of 5.25 g/t.

Tin and Tungsten Deposits in Kyrgyzstan

According to Central Asian Geoportal: 1)Trudovoye deposit. Consists of 4 adjoining areas: Tsentralnyi, Lesistyi, Tashkoro and Ryzhyi. Their explored reserves amount to 23.1 million tonnes of ore, 126.1 thousand tonnes of tin, 87.7 thousand tonnes of tungsten trioxide and 572.3 thousand tonnes of fluorspar. Average content of tin in ore is 0.55 percent, tungsten trioxide – 0.38 percent, fluorspar – 12.29 percent. [Source: Central Asian Geoportal geoportal-tj.org <>]

2) Uchkoshkon deposit. It is located in 60km from the Trudovoye deposit and was explored as a reserve site of Saryjaz mining and processing complex. Explored reserves amount to 11.5 million tonnes of ore and 60.6 thousand tonnes of tin. Average grade of tin in ore is 0.53 percent. 3) Kensu tungsten deposit. It is located in 50km from the Trudovoye deposit. Explored reserves amount to 5.8 million tonnes of ore and 29.5 tonnes of tungsten trioxide with the average content of 0.51 percent. <>

4) Sarybulak deposit. The deposit was examined at the stage of prospecting and evaluation. The reserves were not specified in the State Register. Explored reserves and inferred resources amount to 2.1 million tonnes of ore and 17.2 thousand tonnes of tin. Average grade of tin in ore is 0.82 percent. Deposit ores are complex and refractory. In addition to tin, reserves and inferred resources of associated metals were calculated: antimony – 2.2 thousand tonnes, plumbum – 55.4 thousand tonnes, zinc – 50.9 thousand tonnes, copper – 5.3 thousand tonnes, silver– 37.8 tonnes. <>

Antimony Deposits in Kyrgyzstan

According to Central Asian Geoportal: Explored antimony reserves in 7 antimonic and complex hydrargyric-antimonic-fluorite deposits specified in the State Register amount to 15.5 million tonnes of ore and 264 thousand tonnes of antimony. However the quality of ores is low as compared to deposits under development in the world. In recent years, antimony mining has not been carried out. Raw material is delivered from Russia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan for production of antimony regulus and antimonides at the metallurgic plant of the Kadamjai enterprise. Trudovoye deposit. Consists of 4 adjoining areas: Tsentralnyi, Lesistyi, Tashkoro and Ryzhyi. Their explored reserves amount to 23.1 million tonnes of ore, 126.1 thousand tonnes of tin, 87.7 thousand tonnes of tungsten trioxide and 572.3 thousand tonnes of fluorspar. Average content of tin in ore is 0.55 percent, tungsten trioxide – 0.38 percent, fluorspar – 12.29 percent. [Source: Central Asian Geoportal geoportal-tj.org <>]

1) Kadamjai deposit. Explored reserves amount to 3.0 million tonnes of ore and 77.6 thousand tonnes of antimony with the average content of 2.6 percent. Ore mining at the deposit decreased from 108 thousand tonnes in 1997 to 42 thousand tonnes in 2000 and almost stopped in recent years. 2) Terek deposit. Sulphide ore reserves for adit mining were completed. Sulphide ore reserves for adit mining and oxide ore reserves amount to 601.1 thousand tonnes of ore and 22.8 thousand tonnes of antimony with the average content of 3.8 percent. <>

3) Kassan deposit. It is located in 10km from the Terek-Sai deposit. Explored reserves amount to 1,123 thousand tonnes of ore and 39.1 thousand tonnes of antimony with the average content of 3.48 percent. Arsenic is harmful impurity in ore. Arsenic-containing concentrate technology is not developed enough. 4) Abshyr deposit. Explored reserves amount to 71 thousand tonnes of ore and 1,824 tonnes of antimony with the average antimony content of 2.57 percent. 5) Severnyi Aktash deposit. Explored reserves amount to 3.3 million tonnes of ore, 16.8 tonnes of antimony and 655 thousand tonnes of fluorspar with the average grade of 0.5 and 20.1 percent. <>

Hydrargyrum and Rare Earth Deposits in Kyrgyzstan

According to Central Asian Geoportal: 1) Khaidarkan deposit. Explored reserves amount to 7.1 million tonnes of ore, 10.5 tonnes of hydrargyrum, 60.3 thousand tonnes of antimony and 614 thousand tonnes of fluorspar with the average grade of 0.15, 1.46 and 15.2 percent. Trudovoye deposit. Consists of 4 adjoining areas: Tsentralnyi, Lesistyi, Tashkoro and Ryzhyi. Their explored reserves amount to 23.1 million tonnes of ore, 126.1 thousand tonnes of tin, 87.7 thousand tonnes of tungsten trioxide and 572.3 thousand tonnes of fluorspar. Average content of tin in ore is 0.55 percent, tungsten trioxide – 0.38 percent, fluorspar – 12.29 percent. [Source: Central Asian Geoportal geoportal-tj.org <>]

2) Novoye deposit. Under development by Khaidarkan hydrargyric enterprise. Explored reserves amount to 3.5 million tonnes of ore, 5.5 tonnes of hydrargyrum, 48.7 thousand tonnes of antimony and 488 thousand tonnes of fluorspar with the average grade of 0.15, 1.4 and 13.7 percent. 3) Chonkoi deposit. The deposit was developed using a shaft method. Yearly output was 110-120 thousand tonnes of ore that was processed at the metallurgic plant of the mine. Hydrargyrum production was 165-170 tonnes per year. Uluu-Too deposit and mine were put on care and maintenance under PESAK programme in 1995. The remaining explored reserves: ore - 8,265 thousand tonnes, hydrargyrum- 22,698 tonnes, average content - 0.275 percent.

4) Chauvai deposit. The deposit was developed by Khaidarkan hydrargyric enterprise until 1994. It was put on care and maintenance under PESAK programme in 1995. Remaining reserves explored amount to 313 thousand tonnes of ore and 875 thousand tonnes of hydrargyrum with the average content of 0.28 percent. 5) Kalesai beryllium deposit. The deposit was explored in detail and prepared for development. Explored reserves amount to ore- 9,245 thousand tonnes, beryllium oxide – 11.7 thousand tonnes, average content– 0.127 percent.

6) Rare earth elements deposit Kutessai II. The deposit was developed by the Kyrgyz Mining-and-Metallurgical Plant until 1992. It was put on care and maintenance under PESAK programme in 1995. Remaining reserves explored amount to 20.4 million tonnes of ore and 52.1 thousand tonnes of rare earth elements with the average content of 0.26 percent, including 11.2 million tonnes of ore and 34,329 tonnes of rare earth elements with the average content of 0.29 percent in the contour of the designed pit.

Uranium Deposits in Kyrgyzstan

According to Central Asian Geoportal: Up until recently uranium mining in Kyrgyzstan was carried out at several deposits (Kajisai, Mailisai, Kavak and Tuiamuiun). At present, all of them are closed. Perspectives of uranium industry development can be connected with development of the explored ore deposits of the Saryjaz river and Kyzyl-Ompul uranium-thorianite placers. The Saryjaz deposit reserves amount to 8,222 tonnes (average uranium content is 0.022 percent), Kyzyl-Ompul placers reserves amount to 3,125 tonnes of uranium with the average content of 0.032 percent. [Source: Central Asian Geoportal geoportal-tj.org <>]

Serafimovskoye deposit has perspectives of study of infiltration-type uranium raw material in neogene limestone clay. Trudovoye deposit. Consists of 4 adjoining areas: Tsentralnyi, Lesistyi, Tashkoro and Ryzhyi. Their explored reserves amount to 23.1 million tonnes of ore, 126.1 thousand tonnes of tin, 87.7 thousand tonnes of tungsten trioxide and 572.3 thousand tonnes of fluorspar. Average content of tin in ore is 0.55 percent, tungsten trioxide – 0.38 percent, fluorspar – 12.29 percent. <>

Non-Ore Minerals in Kyrgyzstan

According to Central Asian Geoportal: Subsoil of Kyrgyzstan has various types of non-ore raw material used in the natural or processed condition in the domestic sphere and different branches of industry. Raw base of cement industry is represented by the reserves of carbonate and clay rocks of the following deposits: Kurmentinskoye (limestones - over 53 million tonnes, loam - 3.7 million tonnes), Kuvasaiskoye (limestones - 27.6 million tonnes), Aksaiskoye (limestones - 378 million tonnes, loams - 33.6 million tonnes), Karagaily-Bulak (limestones - 220 million tonnes), Karachatyrskoye (shale rock - 13.3 million tonnes), Tashkumyrskoye (clay - 12.5 million tonnes) and other deposits. Trudovoye deposit. Consists of 4 adjoining areas: Tsentralnyi, Lesistyi, Tashkoro and Ryzhyi. Their explored reserves amount to 23.1 million tonnes of ore, 126.1 thousand tonnes of tin, 87.7 thousand tonnes of tungsten trioxide and 572.3 thousand tonnes of fluorspar. Average content of tin in ore is 0.55 percent, tungsten trioxide – 0.38 percent, fluorspar – 12.29 percent. [Source: Central Asian Geoportal geoportal-tj.org <>]

Stone-working industry has reserves of highly decorative granites and granodiorites at the following deposits: Kaindinskoye (about 9 million m3) and Aralskoye (879 thousand m3); colored marble: the Akart deposit (3.1 million m3), Arym (1.8 million m3), Bozbutoo (3.6 million m3), Gulderek (1.6 million m3), Tashkoro (1.2 million m3), Chaartash (2.4 million m3), limestones-shell rock of the Sary-Tash deposit (14.1 million government). <>

For construction industry, a large number of deposits of sand and gravel mixture (501.6 million m3), gypsum (40.2 million m3), clay and loam for brick production (267.2 million m3) as well as numerous ragstone deposits were explored. Clay-slate and siltstone deposits (110.3 million m3) were explored for production of ceramsite products. <>

Rock-salt deposits were explored for food and chemical industry and cattle breeding, including the following deposits: Ketmen-Tube (6.6 million tonnes), Chon-Tuz (3.8 million tonnes), Chon-Alai (21.5 million tonnes), Tunuk-Tuz (0.6 million tonnes), etc. <>

Deposits of non-ore materials that are rare in other countries and specific regarding the sphere of their use are found in Kyrgyzstan: wollastonite (Kara-Korum II deposit in Chatkal district with the reserves of about 30 million tonnes), porcelain (Uchkurt, over 9million tonnes), rhodusite-asbestos (Karkara, 618 tonnes), basalt (Sulu-Tegerek, 1.4 million m3), etc. <>

The potential of raw gemstones is considerable as well. In addition to the explored deposits of amethyst (Kok-Mainok II and Kokpak Verkhnyi), irised feldspar (Ottuk), garnet (Makbal), onyx marble (Ulutoo and Khojigor), a large group of perspective occurrences of gem stones and ornamental stones was found in different regions of Kyrgyzstan. Special attention should be paid to ruby occurrences at Ormizan, Kokbeles, Akterek in the Sokh river basin. The northern slope of the Turkestan ridge is perspective regarding detection of commercial deposits of oriental blue sapphire. <>

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, U.S. government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

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© 2008 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated April 2016

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