DUSHANBE, January 26, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- Winner of the tender for development of the Konimansuri Kalon (Big Konimansur) silver deposit in northern Tajikistan will be announced during this year, the head of the State Committee for Investments and State-owned Property Management (GosKomInvest) Davlatali Saidov told reporters on January 25.

According to him, the first phase of the tender has been completed and two investment programs have been submitted for consideration to the government.  “As soon as the government studies and endorses these documents, we will launch the final phase of the tender and the winner of the tender will be announced,” Saidov said.

“According to the preliminary estimates, more than US$2 billion will be needed for development of the Konimansuri Kalon deposit,” said the GosKomInvest head, “It is necessary to thoroughly study the project, because development of this deposit will take 30-40 years, you know.”

The tender for development of the Konimansuri Kalon deposit was announced in November 2009 and on March 2, 2010, the government approved the short list and four companies, namely BHP Billion from the Netherlands, which is a leading global natural resources company, Ziti Mining, which is one of the largest Chinese gold producers, Sichuan Group Ltd (JNMC), which is largest Chinese nickel and cobalt producer, and a consortium that groups Kasson (Kazakhstan), Glenmore International (Switzerland), Konimansur (Kazakhstan) and ore refinery Adrasman (Tajikistan)  were on the list.  In the meantime, Ziti Mining and Sichuan Group Ltd (JNMC) have pulled out for some reasons.

We will recall that the Main Geology Directorate head Azim Ibrohim told reporters on January 11 that a new survey conducted by specialists from Micon International Limited (Micon Int) at the Konimansuri Kalon deposit has raised its possible silver reserves to some 70,000 tons.  The previous possible silver reserves of the Konimansuri Kalon deposit had been estimated at some 57,000 tons.

The Konimansuri Kalon in Asht district, Sughd province is estimated to contain around 1 billion tons of ore and according to expert estimates, one ton of the deposit''s ore contained around 49 grams of silver, with 0.38 percent zinc and 0.49 percent lead.

The Konimansuri Kalon silver deposit project is expected to generate significant benefits for the country and help strengthen Tajikistan’s fiscal resources.  The project is a key part of the government’s strategy to attract private investment and introduce best practices in procurement.  Although Tajikistan has rich deposits of minerals, its remote geographic location and low levels of foreign investment have impeded the development of the mining sector.