Natural resources, energy and environment
Uzbekistan is estimated to have some of the
world's largest gold reserves. The country also has
large natural gas resources and significant deposits of
oil, coal, silver, copper, lead, iron and tungsten.
Uzbekistan is suffering from huge environmental problems
as a result of many years of land and water predation.
In the desert north of the city of Buchara is one of
the world's largest gold mines, Murantau. Uzbekistan is
also an important uranium producer. All the uranium that
is mined is exported.
Major exports by Uzbekistan with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
The oil and gas sector has developed strongly since
independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Natural gas
is mainly extracted in the region between Bukhara and
Chiva. There are also gas sources in the Fergana Valley
and near Lake Aral. Oil and gas production has increased
with the help of Russian and Chinese investments.
The domestic need for electricity is covered by 75
per cent of natural gas and otherwise by hydropower. The
oil is not exported but covers the country's own needs.
Low domestic oil and gas prices as a result of
government subsidies have attracted widespread smuggling
to neighboring countries.
In 2009, Uzbekistan stopped the export of electricity
to other former Soviet republics through the old, common
power grid. The neighboring countries claimed that the
decision was a political revenge for hydropower projects
in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan that could threaten the
flow of river water into Uzbekistan. For the same
reason, the gas was shut down for nine months in 2014.
Uzbekistan has built its own power grid for the
equivalent of one billion dollars.
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, UZ stands for Uzbekistan.
In October 2018, the government decided to build the
country's first nuclear power plant with Russian
Extensive environmental problems
Uzbekistan is plagued by severe environmental
problems. Since the 1960s, the surface of the Aral Sea
has been reduced to only one-tenth of its origin by
draining vast amounts of water from the Amu-Darja and
Syr-Darja rivers. There have been fears that the lake
would completely disappear, with devastating
consequences for the people of the area.
A project in Kazakhstan to save at least the northern
part of the lake - which has been broken up into various
small lakes - has had some success. However, the Uzbek
authorities seem prepared to give up the idea of
rescuing the southern part of the lake and possibly
planting forest on the former seabed to halt land
degradation, or look for oil and gas in the area.
The drying out of the Aral Sea has given rise to an
environmental disaster that has had far-reaching
effects. The salt on the dry seabed is carried by the
winds over 100 miles away, settles over the soil and
renders it unusable. The salt also penetrates into the
groundwater. The problems are exacerbated by all the
pesticides that are sprayed across the country's
seemingly endless cotton fields and penetrate into the
The worst affected by the environmental problems is
the Karakalpakstan in the west. Mortality around Lake
Aral is significantly higher than the average in the
country, diseases of the airways and stomach are common
and child mortality is high. More children are born
malformed around Lake Aral than in other parts of the
country and the average life expectancy is low.
A certain optimism was aroused when President
Mirzijojev's government in 2017 raised funding for
operations around the Aral Sea. The intention was, among
other things, to create new jobs, improve water supply
and sanitary conditions, develop healthcare and
modernize the infrastructure.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
1,419 kilos of oil equivalent (2013)
Electricity consumption per person
1645 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
105 214 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
3.4 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
3.0 percent (2015)
Cooperation agreement with the United States
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Tashkent, where she signs an
agreement on scientific and technical cooperation between the United States and
Uzbekistan. She makes another visit in October 2011.
Attorney in charge of new party
Human rights lawyer Ruhiddin Komilov becomes leader of the newly formed
political party National interests. Several of the party's founders are arrested
and interrogated by the police.
Freelance correspondent is fined
The freelance journalist and correspondent for the Voice of America radio
channel, Abdumalik Boboev, is being convicted and for having circulated material
that could damage society's stability. Despite pressure from the United States,
Boboev is sentenced to a fine.
New Islamist guerilla leader
Usman Adil is said to have become the new leader of the Islamist guerrilla
group Uzbekistan's Islamic Movement (IMU). Adil's representatives were
reportedly killed in a US military attack in Pakistan.
NATO is granted access
Uzbekistan allows military alliance Nato to cross the country as they begin
to evacuate their bases in Afghanistan ahead of the planned troop retreat in
Privatizations are promised
The regime announces comprehensive plans to sell state property with the aim
of expanding the private sector. Foreign assessors question whether the heavily
regime-controlled economy can really be privatized to any significant extent.
Uzbeker flees from Kyrgyzstan
Nearly 100,000 ethnic Uzbeks cross the border from Kyrgyzstan, where violent
unrest has led to attacks on the uzb. However, most people return after a short
time, after the refugee camps in Uzbekistan were closed.
Critical UN chief visiting
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits Tashkent and demands that the regime
respect human rights.
Healthcare workers are imprisoned for the spread of HIV
Twenty care workers are sentenced to prison for 5-8 years for having infected
147 children with HIV in a hospital during the period 2008-2009. Several of the
children have since passed away.
UN claims on torture investigation
The UN torture reporter calls for an international investigation into
suspected systematic use of, among other things, rape in Uzbek detention and
Parliamentary elections end without opposition
The second round of the parliamentary elections is held. Only parties loyal
to the Karimov regime are allowed to stand.