Uzbekistan, Tashkent, 21st of January /Trend, D.Azizov /
The State Committee on Geology and Mineral Resources (Goskomgeo Uzbekistan) issued a license to the British-Australian Rio Tinto Ltd. to conduct exploration for copper in the Gava area (Namangan region, Eastern Uzbekistan) on Friday, Goskomgeo informed Trend.
According to Goskomgeo, the license was granted for a five year period. Exploratory work will be carried out under conditions of risk. In accordance with the license agreement, during the first phase in 2013, Rio Tinto is obliged to invest $1 million in exploration.
As previously reported, Rio Tinto applied for a license to conduct copper exploration in promising Gava in 2011.
General Director of Rio Tinto in Central Asian, Chris Welton stated last year, that given positive results, the company may invest up to $100 million in exploration for copper in Uzbekistan.
Initially, the British-Australian company was planning to obtain a license before the end of 2011 and begin exploration in the spring of 2012.
Currently, there are about 900 available copper ore deposits in Uzbekistan. However, only three fields that are in the Almalyk district of Tashkent region are being exploited.
The only copper producer in the country, Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Combine (AMMC) develops copper-porphyry ores in Kalmakyr, Dalneye and Sary-Cheku with reserves totaling approximately 17 million tons of copper, of which so far only 20% has been extracted.