Iron ore deposits have long been recognised in Kyrgyzstan. But the absence of operative steel industry has withheld miners from starting up any mines since exportation of mere iron ore, given the high transportation costs and lack of nearby markets, was not considered profitable. This, however, is going to change in years to come.

photograph © 2014 Charles van der Leeuw

photograph © 2014 Charles van der Leeuw

“Sary-Talaa kench LLC won an auction for the right to use the Nadir iron mine on July 28 in Batken region, AkiPress [] reported this week referring to the press service of the State Agency for Geology and Mineral Resources of Kyrgyzstan.”The Nadir iron mine located in Kadamzhai district of Batken region was put in auction with a starting price of $100, the company offered $211,000. The Ministry of Justice of Kyrgyzstan said the Sary-Talaa kench LLC operates in the field of production and enrichment of non-ferrous metals. Nadir mine’s mineral composition includes magnetite, hematite; rarely there are also pyrite, chalcopyrite, bornite. Non-metallic minerals are apatite, quartz, hornblende, actinolite, epidote, chlorite, Saussure, pomegranate. The secondary minerals include limonite, copper greens, azurite. Ore reserves of the mine are estimated at 18 million tons with average iron content of 41%.”


In Kyrgyzstan, there are two large iron ore deposits: Bala Chychkan and Zhetim, along with smaller fields which include Nadir, and furthermore Gava and Lower Kemin, the location of which would allow to construct small steel plants as they are located in an economically developed areas. […] [But] the territory of Kyrgyzstan has dozens of deposits of iron, but they are still poorly understood,” a survey [] published by KyrgyzTour reads


“Only on one location, in the Kadamjai district, test drilling,has taken place while on the others only surface geological studies have been carried out. At the field Bala Chychkan at the foot of the Talas Ridge, 30 km east of Talas, 5 km south-east of the village of Bazar-Chat, mineralisation has been found in layers of pyroxene. The main ore mineral there is titanium-magnetite, contained in polymetallic ore bearing iron, titanium, vanadium and cobalt. Estimated reserves of iron on the C2 category 535 377 tonne and the mine may be practiced as an open pit.”


Among “historic” prospective iron ore mines in Kyrgyzstan is the Zhetimskoe field, located in the Naryn district, 60 km east of the town of Naryn, on the northern slopes of the ridge Zhetimskogo. The mine was opened in 1956. “The length of the iron pool 70 km, width of 10 km. It found six separate iron ore deposits,” the report reads. “Hundreds of lenticular and tabular ore bodies are embedded in dark gray and green shales. The ores are mainly composed of hematite and magnetite, with a total content of 10-20 tonne in ore bodies. The iron content in the ore is 15,4-46,3%. The field is studied only from the surface. Total iron ore reserves of category C2 stand at 5.5 billion tonne with a potential output of 1.74 billion tonne in processed iron.”


The Nadir deposit, in the west of the. Ohna Valley, was discovered in 1931. “The deposit was explored to a depth of 348 meters Mineralization is confined to the northern. and the south,” the report reads. “In the north and the south of the area there are 15 ore bodies, with a length of 50 to 1310 metre, and a thickness of 1.2 to 6.1 metre The northern. zone consists mainly of titova ore, and the southern one of magnetite. Total reserves of iron ore amount to 2.423 million tonne containint 1.019 million tonne of processed iron thanks to an iron content in the ore of 42.0%.”

The deposit is located in Gava Ala-Buka district, on the watershed pp. Pressed-Giz-Apricot and Ortho-Suu. Magnetite ores occur in skarns at the contact between limestone and effective fuzivov. The field plate 11 is known and lenticular ore bodies, and their ABILITY of extended 40-150 m, thickness 3-35 m, developed to a depth of 50-150 m iron content in the ore is 38.8%, estimated reserves 2.576 million tons ( Iron – 1.0 million tons).


“The deposit located in the Lower Kemin district, in the upper reaches of the River Kozhakmat, a left tributary of the river Chon-Kemin, is marked by mineralisation of limestone at the contact between granite and siltstone,” the report reads. “In the limestone areas of tectonic fractures occur five ore bodies, and their length of 5-100 m, the cardinality of – 5-15 m. The ores are composed predominantly of magnetite. Estimated reserves of iron to a depth of 100 metre stand at 2.4 million tonne, with a content of metal in the ore varying between 20,0 and 51,8%.”