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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Middle East & Asia: October 11th 2011


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:: Austmine Breaks New Ground in Uzbekistan

Austmine broke new ground in September by leading the first ever official Australian industry delegation to Uzbekistan. Comprised of Austmine members, the purpose of the visit was to assess supply opportunities for the Australian mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector and to meet with key mining contacts, relevant government officials and industry organisations.

Austmine was invited to visit Uzbekistan by the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Geology and Mineral Resources (Goskomgeologia), who also coordinated the 4-day visit along with Rio Tinto Central Asia. "Uzbekistan has significant reserves of copper, lead, zinc, tungsten and uranium, all of which are all increasingly being developed," said Robert Trzebski, Executive Officer, Austmine and delegation leader. "Uzbekistan is also the seventh largest producer of gold, and has one of the largest open pit gold mine in the world. All mining activities are conducted by state-owned organisations and Goskomgeologia controls the industry."

"We were fortunate to have the support of Rio Tinto who is in the processing of forming a joint venture to mine copper and uranium in Uzbekistan. We work closely with Rio Tinto in many offshore markets as they know for their ventures to be successful world class Australian technology is needed. Their projects create direct supply opportunities for our members, while opening up the broader market as they set an example for others to follow. "Both sides recognised the need for stronger commercial relationships and the need for cooperation. Given the resources potential in Uzbekistan and interest in upgrading their technology to remain globally competitive, Australian suppliers have a lot to offer," Trzebski said.

As a result of the visit an MOU will be signed between Goskomgeologia and Austmine. The MOU will confirm the commitment to share technology developments, provide information on supply opportunities in Uzbekistan and hold regular face-to-face meetings.

In addition, a high level delegation from Uzbekistan will visit Australia at the end of October. The Uzbek delegation, to be headed by Elyor Ganiev, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, will visit Austmine members and Rio Tinto's operations in Australia.

The Austmine delegation also travelled to Almaty, Kazakhstan to exhibit at Mining World Central Asia 2011. The Government of Kazakhstan has recently announced a program to ensure world class safety and productivity in the mining sector by 2015. Austmine is actively working in the Kazakh market to ensure its members are part of helping to obtain this goal.




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