History of mining in the Kyrgyz Republic
The Kyrgyz Republic (KR) has a wide variety of mineral resources and rich history of mining.
In the Middle Ages (IX-XI century) intensive mining of silver and alluvial gold was conducted here. The remains of the ancient mines can be found all over KR.
Coal mining started at the beginning of the XX century (the time of Imperial Russia). In Soviet times, the Kyrgyz Republic supplied all the Central Asian republics with its coal. During the Second World War several mines produced lead-and-zinc concentrate and mercury.
In the postwar years, until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kyrgyz Republic was a major producer of mercury, antimony and rare earth elements. In the first years of the postwar period active uranium mining took place in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Currently the Kyrgyz Republic has significant proven but undeveloped reserves of tin and tin-and-tungsten ores. Coal mining industry has very good development prospects. KR has the necessary reserves of practically all the natural construction materials. However, gold mining is the most promising development trend of the mining industry.
In 1986 industrial gold mining started in the Kyrgyz Republic for the first time at the Makmal deposit (the mine still remains in operation). In 1996 the development of Kumtor gold deposit, the largest in Kyrgyzstan, was commenced. Currently Kumtor produces up to 16 tonnes of gold per year and the project provides a significant contribution to the Kyrgyz economy.
Several medium-scale gold deposits are in their initial stage of development: Taldybulak Levoberezhny and Ishtamberdy, as well as gold-and-copper Bozumchak deposit.
Projects for the development of Jerooy, Chaarat and others are underway.
Such active mineral development in the Kyrgyz Republic on the one hand is due to attractive mineral resource base, and a relatively liberal mining legislation which establishes clear procedures for subsoil use.