TODAY.AZ / Business

Azerbaijan plays huge role in 'Asian gold' revival

25 April 2012 [11:23] - TODAY.AZ
Rise in world prices for gold contributes to the increase in investors' interest in revival of gold mining industry. Plus, the depletion of natural resources of gold in the leading gold-producing countries - South Africa, USA and Australia - led to the fact that many small and medium hitherto unexplored gold deposits in the Asian countries have become targets of investors. As a result, more and more often from different parts of the region we hear the announcement of the discovery of new gold deposits and active mood in the development of gold mining.

Not speaking about the two major Asian gold producers - China and Indonesia, which continue to strengthen their positions among the world's largest producers, new perspectives have opened for gold deposits in Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Turkey.

For example, in Turkey, as a result of 57 exploration works in the two deposits in the Turkish city of Kayseri, 31 tons of gold reserves were discovered. Work on the extraction of gold from these deposits will begin by late 2012. And the very production of gold in Turkey in 2011 increased to 25 tons against 17 tons in 2010. In 2012, Turkey plans to increase gold production to 35 tons and become the largest producer of this metal. It is known that the annual demand for gold in the country is 150-250 tons.

Gold is one of the most important minerals also in the territory of Kyrgyzstan. In Kyrgyzstan, the five deposits of gold are free for mining, 23 gold deposits are in the process of geological study. With more than 2,000 tons of gold, Kyrgyzstan ranks second in terms of reserves of precious metal in Central Asia, behind Uzbekistan.

Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combine (NMMC) in Uzbekistan, one of the largest gold producers in Central Asia, in 2011 increased the export of gold by 28 percent. In 2011, gold production increased by four percent. According to expert estimates, the production of gold at NMMC in recent years was more than 60 tons with a total production of this metal in the country of about 85 tons. A total amount of explored and proven reserves of gold in Uzbekistan is about 2,100 tons. Total reserves were evaluated by local experts in the quantity of about 3,500 tons. Therefore, this state still has good opportunities to continue to use its "golden" resources.

Gold mining industry of Kazakhstan is provided with balance reserves of gold ore for 30 years. Bulk of the gold reserves and production falls to the complex gold-containing pyrite-polymetallic deposits, from which gold is extracted as an associated component. The recorded by state balance reserves of gold deposits in fact account for 65 percent. In the last 15-18 years, easily accessible near-surface gold ores at almost most deposits have been worked out, and the rest ore at a depth was considered low-profit.

Total proven gold reserves in Tajikistan are estimated at 200 tons, expected reserves - 500 tons. The Republic also has significant proven reserves (over 20 tons) and expected reserves (more than 25 tons) of placer gold. Five gold deposits in Tajikistan are ready to accept investors for mining and exploration.

With regard to Azerbaijan, by the end of 2012 it expects to produce 7,500 tons of gold from two gold deposits - Gedabek and Chovdar. Currently at Chovdar gold deposit, located in the Dashkesan region, preliminary work is underway in connection with the start of operation and construction of the plant is nearing completion.

According to the State Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan, Anglo-Asian Mining plc, which is still the only gold producer in Azerbaijan, produced 1,775 kilograms of gold in 2011 at Gedabek gold deposit. Gold produced at the deposits is sent for refinement to Switzerland. Bullions are brought to Azerbaijan and stored in the government's vaults. The first gold and silver was produced at the Gedabek deposit in May 2009.

According to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan, gold production at gold deposits discovered in 2003 - 2005 allowed Azerbaijan to join the gold-producing countries. In recent years, Azerbaijan produced 4,500 tons of gold.

As a result of exploration work over the past two years a new gold mine Tyullalar, which has estimated reserves of 80 tons and 290 tons of silver in the Goygol region of Azerbaijan has been discovered. In the Dashkesan region Goshgardah-Chanagchy gold mine was discovered, reserves of which are estimated at 20 tons of gold. In Shamkir region of the country for the first time in the country deposit of metals from the platinum group was discovered. In 2011, exploration work ended on the Gosha deposit in Tovuz, now preparation for production is underway. Anglo Asian Mining PLC also found deposits of gold in the Ordubad mines. Gold deposit was discovered as a result of exploration at Piyazbashi and Agyurt deposits in Ordubad in 2010 and 2011.

Thus, large-scale revival of gold mining is expected in Azerbaijan. Next to the old mines it's planned to build modern gold-mining tunnels and factories. It is becoming clear that the time is not far off when our country will take its rightful place among the largest suppliers of gold on the world market.


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