DUSHANBE, September 20, Asia-Plus /Zarrina Ergasheva/ -- Tajikistan has sold its 51 percent stake in the Tajik-U.S. joint venture Anzob Ore Refinery.

According to Tajikistan’s State Committee for Management of State-owned Property, Tajikistan’s 51% ownership interest in the operation was sold at auction September 15.  A source from the committee said Comsap had purchased Tajikistan’s ownership interest. 

”It was an English-type auction, in which the auctioneer states a reserve  (lowest acceptable) price and then takes increasing bids from customers. The item is sold to the highest bidder,” said the source. “The auction started at more than 9 million somonis and the ownership interest was sold to Comsap for 11 million somonis, equivalent to more than 3 million U.S. dollars.”

According to the source management of the Anzob ore refinery will be completely transferred to the U.S. company, which now owns 100 percent of the shares. Since the enterprise is located in Tajikistan, it should act in compliance with Tajik laws and pay taxes to Tajikistan,” the source noted, adding that the enterprise’s charter may possibly change.

The joint venture Anzob was established in July 2005, with Tajikistan owning 51 percent of the shares and the United States assuming a 49% interest in the enterprise. The United States partner has attracted more than US$4 million in investments, mainly to modernize equipment and improve the company’s finances.

The enterprise mines ore and produces antimony concentrate. The capacity of one line of the enterprise is 350,000 tons of ore a year, and an annual volume of antimony concentrate amounts to 12,000-14,000 tons.  With rehabilitation of the second line of the enterprise the annual capacity of this joint venture will amount to 700,000 tons of ore.