Kyrgyzstan proposes to Japan to develop Tien Shan subsoil

Kyrgyzstan proposes to Japan to develop the rare-earth metal deposits at Tien Shan, official sources in the republican government report.

The new PM of Kyrgyzstan, Omurbek Babanov proposed cooperation to the Japanese government.

Kyrgyzstan is rich with natural resources, Babanov said at the meeting with Japanese Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs who visited Bishkek in advance of the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the countries.

“We constantly increase the investment attractiveness of our economy”, Babanov specified. “We have prepared a number of investment projects including those concerning development of rare-earth metal deposits which could be interesting to Japanese investors”.

The official line from Bishkek supposes that Tokyo could have sent a special delegation to Kyrgyzstan to discuss realization of the projects with Kyrgyz government. Babanov said, Kyrgyzstan was favourable to investors.

Previously the Japanese side had sent geological groups to Kyrgyzstan. These groups explored mineral fields. However, several years ago one of the groups was captured by terrorists belonging to Islamist movement of Uzbekistan in the southern part of the republic. The hostages were released after long negotiations, however Japan had lost its interest in development of Tien Shan for some time.

At the same time expert community of Kyrgyzstan is rather sceptical about the plans of Bishkek. “We have rare-earth metal deposits, but we need to lead geological exploration before we can offer them to investors”, the Doctor of Geological Science, Apas Abakirov claimed. “Profound exploration of local landscape and climatic conditions is needed. The development of mining industry is impossible without quality geological exploration”, he said.

Representative of Kyrgyz Miners’ Association and public oversight board under Ministry of Natural Resources, Orozbek Duisheyev agrees with him. “There are mineral resources in Kyrgyzstan, but the state has no clear vision of efficient subsoil and mining industry management. Several large mining enterprises such as Kumtor (gold mining enterprise providing 10% of the country’s GDP and 60% of its exports) are in the republic”, he considers.


Translated by Alexandra Utyasheva

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