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Uzbekistan Lifts Ban on "Confidential" State Data on Minerals

4 February 2019

Uzbekistan has annulled the confidentiality of information concerning the country's mineral reserves, their annual production and sales, as well as foreign and internal debts, Uzbek justice ministry said Monday.

A government decree that lifts restrictions on the publication of the information on the dynamics of gold, silver and other non-ferrous and rare earth metals mining has been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, according to the country's justice ministry.

Under the decree, Uzbekistan will start publication of information on the country's mineral reserves, mining and sales volumes and the distribution of funds derived from the sales.

Annual volumes of gold-currency reserves and their composition as of Jan. 1, 2017 will be published officially, the ministry said.

Two main state-owned gold producers in the country, Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Combine (Almalyk MMC) and Navoi Mining and Metallurgy Combinat (NMMC), as well as the country's Fund for Reconstruction and Development will make publicly available their annual financial reports as of 2013.

Almalyk MMC and NMMC produce some 20 percent and 70 percent of the total precious metals in the country respectively.

According to expert estimates, Uzbekistan produces more than 100 tons of gold annually.

"Total amount of debt (internal and external) guaranteed by the state, their sources, currencies, interest rates, and terms of repayment, as well as information on borrowing and repayment of debts" will also be published, according to the new degree of the Uzbek government.

The Central Asian country, rich in resources, has been taking a series of steps to reform its economy, including liberalization of the foreign exchange market, reduction of tax burdens and improving investment climate for foreign investors since Shavkat Mirziyoyev came to power following the presidential elections in 2016.