DUSHANBE (TCA) — If Tajikistan and a consortium led by Kazzinc from Kazakhstan fail to agree on the Konimansuri Kalon (Big Konimansur), the Tajik side may announce another tender to choose a contractor to develop the deposit, one of the largest silver fields in the world, Tajik news agency Asia-Plus reports.
The tender has been conducted for four years now and the sides have not come to agreement, Shukhrat Rakhmatboyev, first deputy chairman of Tajikistan’s State Committee for Investment and Public Property, told a news conference today.
The tender for the field, which is located in the Sughd region in northern Tajikistan, was called back in 2009. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is acting as consultant and guaranteeing the tender's transparency, Interfax reported.
Initially, ten companies applied to participate but in March 2010 the tender commission shortlisted four bidders — BHP Billiton, Zijin Mining (China), JNMC (China), and a consortium led by Kazzinc including Kazakhstan’s Konimansur, Switzerland’s Glencore Inc, and Tajikistan’s Adrasman.
Later on, Zijin Mining and JNMC quitted the tender. In the summer of 2012 Australia’s BHP Billiton pulled out of the tender. The Tajik side explained the decision of the companies with their difficult financial situation, since the Big Konimansur is an expensive project with investment estimated at $2 billion-$2.5 billion.
The Big Konimansur deposit is one of the largest silver deposits in the world. It was explored in the 1970s-1980s.
According to the Tajik State Committee for Investment and Public Property, the deposit is estimated to hold 1 billion tons of ore graded at 49 g/t silver with lead content of 4,900 grams and zinc of 3,800 grams per ton.