Natural resources, energy and environment
Kyrgyzstan has valuable mineral and ore resources, but with hard-to-reach mountains, poor infrastructure and remote markets, it is difficult to make mining profitable. An exception is the gold mining. The energy demand is covered by domestic hydropower and imported natural gas.
In 1997, gold mining began in the Tien Shan Mountains in northeastern Kyrgyzstan through a Canadian-Kyrgyz joint venture at the Kumtor mine. New gold mines are being projected in collaboration with foreign interests, but the inability to protect investors from local interests as well as dispute disputes have meant that only a limited business has started alongside Kumtor, which accounts for close to a tenth of the country’s GDP and about 40 percent of the country’s GDP. Kyrgyzstan’s total export value.
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Kyrgyzstan 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.
There are also uranium, mercury, the alloy metal antimony and reserves of carbon, marble, zinc, arsenic and lead. Gemstones such as topaz, tourmaline, amethyst, jade and jasper are mined and exported.
The gold mining has led to a political conflict, which has at least periodically affected production. Protesters oppose that Kumtor is majority owned by a Canadian company and demands that the mine be nationalized. The political opposition wants the mine to at least be majority owned by the state.
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, KG stands for Kyrgyzstan. Visit itypeusa for more information about Kyrgyzstan.
Oil and natural gas are extracted in small quantities, but almost all fuel has to be imported. Fuel imports have previously consisted mainly of natural gas from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Uzbekistan has sometimes restricted gas exports to Kyrgyzstan due to a conflict over how the water in the Naryn River should be distributed.
In 2014, the state gas company Kyrgyzgaz was acquired by Russian Gazprom. The purpose was to replace the gas supply from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan with cheaper Russian gas.
Electricity is mainly extracted from domestic hydropower. The Kyrgyz mountains have enormous potential for hydropower, but only a small part is utilized. The country suffers from chronic electricity shortages which become acute in winter. The wiring network from the Soviet era is worn out and the privatization attempts by the electricity company have gone bad. Electricity is exported to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan from a power plant at Naryn, but the Kyrgyz electricity export could be significantly greater.
In August 2015, a Chinese-built power line was inaugurated with a stretch entirely inland. Since the Soviet era, about one-third of the electricity produced in the country has been transported through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to reach domestic customers, which has cost Kyrgyzstan large sums in transit fees.
Kyrgyzstan has not had as extensive environmental problems as most other former Soviet republics, partly because there are few industries. However, radioactive waste has been excavated in an old Soviet uranium mine.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
650 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
1941 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
9 608 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
1.6 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
23.3 percent (2015)
Kyrgyzstan will join the EU
Kyrgyzstan signs an agreement to join the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in May 2015.
Organizations are appealing for tolerance
The leaders of 43 NGOs are appealing to President Atambayev not to stamp those who receive financial aid from abroad as “foreign agents”. A law on this is debated in Parliament following the Russian model. They point out that the president of television said that some organizations pose a threat to society. The organizations are urging the president not to make the same mistake as two of his predecessors, who have said similar things but who themselves later proved to be such a threat to the nation’s security that they were thrown out of the country.
New party formation
The Fatherland and the Republican Party join forces to form a joint party called the Republican Party-Fatherland.
Another verdict against the ex-president
Ex-President Bakijev and his brother Janysh are both sentenced in their absence to life imprisonment for the death of nearly 100 protesters in 2010. Another 25 prosecutors are sentenced to prison for between 6 and 25 years. Among them are several relatives and close associates of Bakijev.
Mining continues without agreement
At the last moment, the state continues to authorize the Canadian company Centerra to operate the Kumtor gold mine (see February 2014). The company has threatened to discontinue operations on June 13 unless the license is extended. It is not immediately clear how the ownership shares between the state and Centerra should be distributed.
US leaves air base
The United States, in a symbolic gesture, sends a big key to Kyrgyzstan to mark the end of NATO’s use of Mana’s airfield outside Bishkek as a transit center for military operations in Afghanistan (see May 2013).
Protests against EEU cooperation
Around 100 activists are demonstrating in Bishkek against Kyrgyzstan’s intention to join the planned Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) cooperative organization (see December 2013). According to the activists, this means “a restriction on the country’s political and economic independence”. According to the government, membership of the EEU is “practically” clear.
Gas companies are taken over by Russia
The Kyrgyz natural gas company KyrgyzGaz completely takes over Russian ownership when it is purchased by Gazprom. The new Russian owners, who now have control over the Kyrgyz energy supply, promise to lower the consumer price for the gas.
Demonstration is turned down
At least 150 people are arrested when police disperse a demonstration organized by the newly formed National Opposition Movement (see Political system). The movement demands, among other things, that the president’s power be reduced.
New verdict against ex-president
Former President Bakijev is sentenced for the second time (see also February 2013) to prison in his absence. He is sentenced to 25 years for attempted murder of a British businessman. His brother and one son are sentenced to life and another son to 20 years in prison.
New Prime Minister
Dzjoomart Otorbajev is elected prime minister at the head of the same government coalition that led the country to the departure of the Motherland in March. The new tripartite government’s program is aimed at improving the investment climate, increasing security in the country and combating corruption more effectively.
New government crisis
The government is cracking down when the Fatherland leaps off the coalition. The Western-friendly party says Prime Minister Satybaldyev lost his moral right to govern since an imprisoned criminal league leader who was released early managed to flee the country. The motherland also criticizes Satybaldyev’s inability to increase the state’s share of Kumtor mine revenues and accuses him of embezzling aid money and state funds when he was responsible for rebuilding southern Kyrgyzstan after the unrest in 2010. The motherland’s sacking forced Satybaldyev’s entire inoculation. Deputy Prime Minister Dzjoomart Otorbaiev is appointed to lead an expedition government.
Mining conflict must be resolved
Parliament appoints a “Reconciliation Commission” with the task of resolving the conflict over the state’s ownership interest in the Kumtor gold mine. The Commission will negotiate with the Canadian firm Centerra to increase the state’s share, currently 33 percent, to 67 percent (see Natural Resources and Energy). After just one day’s work, the Commission recommends that the government negotiate with the company that the state and Centerra should own 50 percent each.
Islamic leader condemns homosexuality
Acting Grand Mufti Maksat Hajji Toktomusev issues a fatwa, a religious decree, condemning same-sex relationships. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Kyrgyzstan in 1998.
The storm must leave after scandal
The Kyrgyzstan’s grandmother Rachmatulla-Hajji Egemberdjev resigns after being exposed in a video film in bed with a young woman. Muftin claims that government officials liked a trap for him. It is the sixth time in four years that the country’s mufti has been replaced by scandals.