Indian SUN Group and international IFG Capital are planning to invest US$ 300 million in the extraction and development of tungsten deposits in Uzbekistan, IFG Capital said in a statement.
The Central Asian focused advisory and investment company IFG Metals & Mining has signed an agreement with the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Geology and Mineral Resources ("GOSCOMGEOLOGY") giving it exclusive rights to carry out feasibility studies and if these are successful to exploit seven tungsten deposits in Uzbekistan with the aim of creating a cluster for tungsten production and processing. This is the largest such foreign investment in Uzbekistan's mining industry since the end of the Soviet Union, with investments totaling US$300 million over the 25-30 year working life of the cluster, which is expected to directly create 1,500 jobs.
Indian private equity firm SUN Group, which has investments in India, Russia, West Africa and other emerging markets, has agreed to co-invest with IFG, subject to further due diligence.
“SUN Group has long ties with the former Soviet Union spanning over 60 years. SUN, along with our partners, is delighted to be working with IFG Capital on developing this significant tungsten cluster. We hope this collaboration will help strengthen the India-Uzbekistan relationship,” Vice Chairman of SUN Group Shiv Khemka said.
Preliminary geological research indicates around 130 thousand tons of WO3 (tungsten oxide) in the seven deposits with the average grade higher than in comparable projects as well as lower processing costs due to favorable business conditions in Uzbekistan. IFG plans to build two mobile processing factories that will serve the deposits, and to export 100% of produced tungsten to North America and the EU.