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Tajik Miners’ Wages Increased After Strike Threat

Thursday 6 October 2011

KHUJAND (RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty) – Employees at the Zarafshon (زرافشان) gold-mining company in northern Tajikistan have been given a pay increase after threatening a general strike last month, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reports.

Some 1,500 Zarafshon employees at the company in Sughd (سغد) Province staged a protest in early September, warning that they would go on strike unless their wages were increased.

Miner Bobosafar Nematov told RFE/RL that the mine’s management has agreed to that demand and promised to give about a 50% increase in the workers’ salaries “soon” and the miners have abandoned their strike plans.

But he said only those miners who have full-time contracts with the company will be eligible for the wage increase.

Nematov said his previous wage was the equivalent in Tajik somonis of US $100, and it will now be raised to $150.

The Zarafshon gold mine is in the Panjakent district of the Sughd region. It is the largest gold producer in Tajikistan, producing 1,100 kg of gold in 2010. The company is jointly owned by China’s Zijin Mining Group (75%) and the Tajik government (25%). Zijin is one of the largest Chinese gold producers in China. It now operates the Zijinshan Gold Mine, the largest open pit gold mine on mainland along with three other gold mines in production. In 2006, Zijin had 49.28 tons of the gold output and the gold produced from mining reached 20.70 tons, respectively accounting for 20.53% of China’s total gold production and 11.51% of the gold produced from mining in China in the same year. In 2010 gold output had reached 69 tons.

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