[Ferro-Alloys.com] Uzbekistan contains the largest tungsten reserves in the CIS. Production is centred on two mining concerns, Ingitchke and Koytash. However, remaining mineable reserves are nearly exhausted. The two mines used to provide 40% of the country’s demand, with the remainder being imported from Russia (from Lermontov and Primorsky Mining). Imports have increased as a result of the depleted reserves base at the two mines.
Metek Metalls of Israel has reached agreement with Navoi Metallurgical Combine and the SGC to develop the tungsten deposits at Sautbai, where there are estimated reserves of 4 Mt containing 19,900 t of tungsten trioxide. SGC estimates that the total tungsten resource in central Kyzylkum could be 30-40 times greater than at the Sautbai deposits. Through Almalyk Mining and Metallurgy Combine Uzbekistan is one of the world’s 15 largest molybdenum miners.
Uzbek Heat-resistant and Refractory Metals Combine, one of the biggest producers of tungsten and molybdenum products in the CIS, is included in the privatisation program for 2005-06; a 100% stake in company is offered for sale. The combine, built in 1956, made hard alloys, powders and rolled metal from molybdenum and tungsten for the defence industry in the former Soviet Union. Its tungsten concentrate is supplied from Russia and the local company, Almalyk Mining and Metallurgy Combine, supplies it with imported molybdenum concentrate. All raw materials are supplied on a tolling arrangement and more than 90% of output is exported.
Metek Metalls (50%), Almalyk Mining and Metals Combine (20%) and UzKTZhM High-Temperature and Refractory Metals Combine (30%) have established Uzmetall Technology, a JV that processes 600 t/y of molybdenum concentrate.