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Kyrgyzstan May Supply Coal to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in Exchange for Gas

Thursday 15 December 2011

BISHKEK (24.kg news agency ) – “Kyrgyzstan may supply coal to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in exchange for gas,” Rasul Umbetaliev, the expert in fuel-and-power sector, told a news conference today.

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Kyrgyzstan Coal Production by Year

According to him, leaders of the country have to work out a strategy for development of coal industry and to attract investors for coal mining. He noted that quality of marketable Kyrgyz coal is low. “Our coal producers are small. Actually they don’t have equipment therefore they are mining for brown coal. Big, good equipped producers are able to mine for black coal,” Rasul Umbetaliev said.

Soviet geologists have estimated Kyrgyzstan’s coal reserves at about 27 billion tons, of which the majority remained entirely unexploited in the mid-1990s. About 3 billion tons of that amount are judged to be of highest quality. This coal has proven difficult to exploit, however, because most of it is in small deposits deep in the mountains. Kyrgyzstan also has oil resources; small deposits of oil-bearing shale have been located in southern Kyrgyzstan, and part of the Fergana oil and natural gas complex lies in Kyrgyzstani territory. In the Osh region, four pools of oil, four of natural gas, and four mixed pools have been exploited since the 1950s; however, the yield of all of them is falling in the 1990s. In 1992 their combined output was 112,000 tons of oil and 65 million m³ of natural gas, compared with the republic’s annual consumption of 2.5 million tons of oil and 3 billion m³ of natural gas.

There are three coal regions: Alai, Alabuka-Chatyrkul and Yuzhno-Issykkul. Proven coal reserves total 2,500 Mt and probable reserves are 4,700 Mt. Kyrgyzstan’s coal production is scheduled to rise sharply. The principal expansion will be at the existing Kara-Keche open-pit mine located in the Dzhumgal district of Naryn Region. The mine is based on Kyrgyzstan’s largest coal deposit, and commercial development of Kara-Keche began in 1985. Of Kyrgyzstan’s total explored coal reserves amounting to some 2,500 Mt, more than 500 Mt are located at Kara-Keche and of these 192 Mt are amenable to open-pit mining. The deposit is being mined by Razrez Ak-Ulak in which the state holds a 70% interest.

Ak-Ulak is the only state company of the five that are working Kara-Keche, and accounts for 53% of national coal output. Apart from the government’s 70% controlling stake, private individuals hold 25% of stock, and employees 5%.

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