Tajikistan: The Saudi Arabia of the Mining World

Tajikistan is one of the most mountainous countries in the entire world. Mountains cover over 90% of the land in this country located in Central Asia.

Though this may seem like a fact that would hinder an economy, especially in a landlocked one, deep in those mountains are minerals that make Tajikistan the so-called Saudi Arabia of the mining world.

Tajikistan’s greatest mineral export is aluminum. It makes up more than half of all the nations exports. Countries like the Netherlands, Latvia, Russia and China trade with Tajikistan for its aluminum.

As well as aluminum, Tajikistan has many rich deposits of gold and silver. These mines in Tajikistan are very important to the world mineral market, and production has sky rocketed since gaining independence from the Soviet Union. By the end of 2012, it plans to produce 2441 kg of gold. Tajikistan’s silver production is equally as impressive.

The reserves at Big Kon-I Mansur are the second largest in the world according to the Tajik government. What’s amazing is that those projections were made during the Soviet era that only took the most conservative estimates into account. If they were redone today, the ore in that mine could be much, much richer than we actually presume.

Like any good economy, it must have more than one dimension to seem appealing to foreign investors. Tajikistan also possesses a very exciting energy sector.

The Vakhsh and Panj rivers that run through the country have great hydropower potential, and the government is looking for investments to make good use of this potential. Currently the highest dam in the world, Nurek, is located in Tajikistan.

Companies from China, Russia and Iran have brought in funds to take advantage of this hydropower potential. There are also significant coal and natural gas deposits. In 2010, A Russian company discovered natural gas reserves in the Sarykamish field big enough to fulfill Tajikistan’s domestic consumption for the next 50 years.

For foreign investors to make use of these investment opportunities, Tajikistan needs to have political and economic stability. This has been a reason to avoid Tajikistan in the past, but now it would be misguided to overlook the country in its current state.

Since the early 2000s, the banking system has become incredibly strong due to strict over sight of the National Bank of Tajikistanto avoid corruption. They have also relaxed restriction on foreign investors and have made a lot of regulatory reforms to clean the system.

Tajikistan is becoming a major player in the developing Central Asian world. Talk of the New Silk Road has made investors look upon the region with fresh interest.

In 2007, the Anzab tunnel connecting northern Tajikistan to the capital city – Dushanbe was completed. This tunnel is part of a bigger construction plan of a road connecting Tajikistan to Iran and the Persian Gulf. Projects like these are making the future of Tajikistan, and the future of its economy very bright.

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