While international attention focuses on Central Asia’s oil and gas resources, concentrated in the western part of the region, its newly independent states are also opening their wealth of metallic ores, located further to the east, for mining in partnership with Western firms. While it controlled the region, Moscow proved technologically unable to fully exploit or even open up many of those sites. They include major gold deposits, more of which have recently been or are currently being turned over to Western joint ventures.
The Toronto-based Central Asia Goldfields Corporation has successfully begun drilling operations at the Askiktas gold deposit in the Chu-Ily region in south-central Kazakhstan. The Canadian company owns 70 percent of that new joint venture. A consortium comprised of the Teck Corporation of Canada, the British company Bakyrchik Gold, and the U.S. company First Dynasty Mines has won a tender and license to mine Vasilkovskoye, Kazakhstan’s largest known gold deposit. Situated in Kokchetau region in the country’s north, the deposit is estimated to contain 400 tons of gold.
In Uzbekistan, the Newmount Corporation of the U.S. and a subsidiary of Japan’ Mitsui have jointly won a tender to mine the Kyzylalmas and Kochbulak gold deposits, both in the Tashkent region. The two sites are estimated to contain at least 270 tons of gold. Newmount is already involved in two other projects in Uzbekistan.
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