Kyrgyzstan - Mining
Southwestern Kyrgyzstan contained most of the nation's mineral wealth, including, most importantly, antimony (often found with lead-zinc), mercury (often found with fluorspar), and gold. Principal deposits of these minerals were found in the Kadamzhayskiy Rayon and Khaydarkan regions, in the Alay foothills. The Khaydarkan mercury mining and metallurgical complex, in the Osh region, was the major producer of metallic mercury in the former Soviet Union.
In 2000, Kyrgyzstan produced 554 tons of metallic mercury, a 14% decline from 1999; all the mercury, the nation's fifth-leading export commodity, was exported to China. Antimony produced at Kadamzhay was another important export product, because it was suitable for technical purposes requiring high-purity antimony. Uranium, from the center of the country, was processed in the Shu Valley and was a leading export commodity. The mountains also contained deposits of gold, mercury, tungsten, molybdenum, rare earth metals, indium, sulfur, tin, and arsenic. Gold, the fourth-leading export commodity, was mined in the Issyk-Kul' region. Several major gold deposits were under development, and Kyrgyzstan's economy has benefited greatly from gold production by the Kumtor Gold Co., which increased production in 2000 by 10%, to 21.5 tons, and increased recovery rate from ore to 81.5%. A rich deposit of tin, a regionally scarce mineral commodity, was being developed in the eastern mountains. Output figures in 2000 were: antimony, 150 tons, down from 1,200 in 1997; mercury, 257 tons, down from 550 in 1997; fluorspar concentrate, 3,000 tons, down from 4,176 in 1997; and gold, 22,000 kg, up from 1,500 in 1996.