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Rio Tinto prepared to invest $100 mln in copper exploration in Uzbekistan

6 October 2011

www.interfax.com of 10/6/2011 - British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd. could invest up to $100 million in exploration for copper in Uzbekistan, the company's head of exploration in Central Asia, Chris Welton said at the Uzgeoinvest-2011 conference in Tashkent on Thursday.


Such investment would be possible if positive results are received from the exploration of the Gava property in the Namangan region, the license to which Rio Tinto hopes to receive before the end of 2011, Welton said.


He said the company plans to begin exploration work at Gava in spring 2012. The duration of the license will be five years.  


The company plans to spend $1 million in the first year and if positive results are received the company's investments will grow to $100 million, Welton said.


He said Rio Tinto would like to explore for copper in a number of other prospective areas in Uzbekistan. There are plans to hold negotiations on these properties in 2012 with the State Geology and Mineral Resources Committee.


As reported earlier, Rio Tinto in 2011 submitted an application to the Mineral Resources Committee for a license to explore for copper at the Gava property.

About 900 copper mineralizations and deposits have so far been found in Uzbekistan, but only three are being developed: Kalmakyr, Dalneye and Sary-Cheku in the Almalyk district. They are being mined by the Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Complex, the country's only copper producer.