Investments in geological exploration in Kyrgyzstan soared by 34% from 173.8 million som in 2002 to 233 million soms in 2003 said Sheishenaly Murzagaziyev, director of the State Geology and Mineral Resources Agency.
Foreign investments in exploration came to 185 million soms, Murzagaziyev said. These included 118 million soms in gold exploration and 64.4 million soms in oil and gas exploration. Companies from China, Canada, Russia, the United States, Australia and Kazakhstan stepped up geological work, the official said.
The state budget allocated 34.743 million soms for geological exploration last year. The money financed oil and gas exploration in the Chu and Issyk-Kul depressions, which revealed potentially viable deposits, and coal exploration in the Alay depression in the Karakavak- Karautok area, which could hold upwards of 2 million tons of coal.
Chinese companies An Bang and Proadtek prospected potential oil and gas fields in the Alay, Talas, Bazar-Korgon and Uzgen depressions. Xi Bu Holding, another Chinese company, is financing geological work at potential coal sites in the Alay depression and is developing the Sary- Mogol coalfield, which it explored at its own expense.
Mineral developers paid about 360 million soms into the budget in deductions for the replenishment of the mineral base in 2003.
The exchange rate was 43.4316 som/$1 on February 18.
Interfax, February 18, 2004