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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazakhs Hope to Boost Gold Output to 40 Tons

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan hopes to boost gold output to 40 tons by 1998 and forecasts production at 14 tons this year, up from 1993's 12.6 tons, the president of the republic's state gold concern, Altynalmas, said.

"Under a four-year government plan, we hope to raise gold production to 40 tons by 1998," Abdrakhman Begalinov said in an interview this week.

"Of course this is a huge task. Our gold industry has been hit by an economic crisis. But we remain optimistic. We have a rich material base."

Kazakhstan wants to boost gold reserves quickly with the help of foreign investors to support its fledgling tenge currency introduced last November, Begalinov said.

The former Soviet republic has been building up reserves since January 1992 but Begalinov declined to give any figures. Last November, senior government officials said combined gold and foreign exchange reserves were worth more than $720 million.

Kazakhstan, with rich mineral resources led by silver, copper and nickel, will open up several gold fields to foreign investors in the coming months, Begalinov said.

International tenders were planned soon to develop three gold mines -- in Vasilkovskoye, Mizek and Ubilovnoye -- and to construct a gold refinery in Akbakay.

Altynalmas, which groups 21 gold enterprises employing more than 5,000 people, is talking to Australian firms and Canadian companies, Begalinov said. He gave no price for the projects.

The republic already has a joint venture with the British Bakyrchik Gold Plc quoted on the London Stock Exchange, which has a 40 percent stake in the Bakyrchik mine in eastern Kazakhstan.

Australian Minproc and Chilewich recently provided $100 million for a joint venture as part of a $200 million reconstruction project, Begalinov said.

The Bakyrchik mine should produce 1 million tons of gold ore annually once the project is completed in a few years.