Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Jan.27 / Trend D.Azizov /
The Uzbek-Korean joint venture Uzbekistan-Korea Tungsten started exploration work on Sautbay tungsten deposit (Navoi province, central Uzbekistan), a source in the state geology committee told Trend on Friday.
The JV has already completed exploration work on wings of the Sautbay field, the source said.
It was reported earlier that the Uzbek State Committee on Geology and Mineral Resources and Korean Shindong Resources Company signed an agreement in August, 2011 to establish the Uzbekistan-Korea Tungsten joint venture on a parity basis to explore and to develop the Sautbay tungsten deposit.
The project, which is worth $120 million, envisages carrying out exploration work as well as construction of a mining and processing complex with an annual design capacity of 1,500 tons of high tungsten concentrate per year.
The explored reserves on the Sautbay deposit have hit four million tons of ore containing tungsten trioxide to the aggregate of 19,900 tons.
According to experts, the flanks of the deposit are also in a potentially promising area and exploration will significantly increase the resource base.
The audit of ore reserves and mineral resources according to the international standards (JORC code) is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2014. The joint venture plans to invest about $30 million to explore the Sautbay deposit.
Uzbekistan adopted a programme to develop a mineral resource base of tungsten deposits of the country. This covers the period till 2014 and will bring the tungsten production of concentrate up to 2700 tons. It will also provide the construction of a mining and processing complex to develop the site North on the Yakhton deposit in the Samarkand region.
It had been previously planned to launch the development in 2009 with an annual production of tungsten concentrate to the amount of 870 tons. Commercial development of the Sautbay field in Navoi region would bring in an annual production of 1260 tons in 2011 -2012.
The Uzbek Refractory and Heat-resistant Metals Plant (UzKTZhM) was commissioned in 1956.