(AsiaNews/Agencies) - Despite its 220 active goldmines and proven gold reserves
of 2,000 tonnes, Kyrgyzstan exports only 25 tonnes of gold a year. But now the
landlocked former Soviet republic is attracting investors from the United Arab
Emirates, whose businessmen are flocking to the Central Asian nation with
technology and money to bid on gold concessions.
ethnic violence claimed the life of dozens of people in 2010 and led to the
downfall of then President Kurmanbek
is now trying to develop its most important resource, gold. However, with a
territory that is 96 per cent mountainous, mines tend to be very remote. Worse still,
many of them rely on antiquate, Soviet-era technology and many are
main mine is in Kumtor, 350 km southeast of the capital Bishkek. It is owned by
a Canadian company, Centerra Gold. However, the government plans to nationalise
it to increase its revenues and thus cope with a serious economic crisis, major
social instability and a drought in agriculture.
"We are looking at foreign investment in gold mines
where the UAE is well positioned to invest," Kubanychbek Omuraliev, Kyrgyz
Consul General, told GulfNews. "A
number of our mines have been tendered out for concession bids, in which UAE
companies could participate."
More than 7,000 Kyrgyz professionals already live
and work in the UAE's oil fields. However, only a handful of them are businessmen
are engaged in trade.
Bilateral trade between the UAE and Kyrgyzstan reached
US$ 300 million, 200 million in Kyrgyz exports and 75 million in imports of
machinery and equipment.
"The potential for two-way trade and investment
between the two countries is huge and we want to expand our trade ties with the
UAE," the consul said.
him, bilateral trade will boost the local economy, not only in gold mining but
also tourism and services.