DUSHANBE, January 5, Asia-Plus -- A number of joint ventures on developing and processing coalfields will be launched in Tajikistan starting from this year, according to the Ministry of Energy and Industry (MoEI).   

A source at a MoEI said that all coal-producing enterprises in the country are run by state.  At present 14 coal-extracting enterprises function in Tajikistan; the majority of them are located in the Sughd province.   

“The main partner of Tajikistan to develop its coal industry is Russia, which is interested in participation in developing the Tajik coal deposits,” the source said, adding that Russia’s Promugolsbyt (coal production and sale company) is keen on participation in development of a series of open-pit mines in the republic.  

According to him, the Russian side is ready fund a project for developing open-pit mine (quarry) ‘Vostochny’ at the coal deposit Fon-Yaghnob in the northern district of Ayni.  The capacity of this deposit is up to 315,000 tons of cola per year.  The estimated budget of this project  exceeds $60 million.  

Besides, it is also planned to develop the open-pit mine Shikorkhona at the coal (anthracite) deposit Nazar Ayloq in Rasht.  The capacity of this quarry is up to 100,000 tons of coal per year.  A total project cost is some $70 million.  Anthracite coal from this deposit will be used for needs of the country’s aluminum industry.   

“At present, not more than 20,000 tons of coal are extracted from each of the mentioned deposits,” said the source, “Modernization of the deposits will enhance the coal industry and make it profitable for the country.”  

According to the Chief Geology Administration, the total coal reserves in Tajikistan are more than 4 billion tons.