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Will Jerooy's gold be dragged into presidential election?

A delegation of the Russian Vostok-Geologodobycha company should arrive in Bishkek one of these days, which in 2015 won a tender to develop Jerooy field in Talas region. It is a member of Russian Platinum group of companies. In early April, it is planned to lay a capsule on the site of the future mine with the participation of the Kyrgyz leadership.

Golden Triumvirate

Along with Russian investors, Kazakh and Kyrgyz companies will participate in the mining of Jerooy gold. The owner of Russian Platinum, Musa Bazhaev, invited Alidzhan Ibragimov, a Kazakh oligarch, co-owner of the Eurasian Resources Group, and Omurbek Babanov, one of the largest domestic businessmen, to participate in the project. Ibragimov is also called Graf (the Earl) in Kyrgyzstan.

The deputy of the Parliament from Ata Meken party Aida Salyanova, who is under investigation, claims that the Graf firms also supply coal to Bishkek HPP.

Alidzhan Ibragimov will receive about 40 percent of shares in the joint company. The Kazakh oligarch became a partner of the Russian gold miner after the government of Kyrgyzstan signed an amicable agreement with the former owner of Jerooy — Visor Holding Company of Aidan Karibzhanov. Since 2013, Visor Holding demanded $ 548 million in court from the Kyrgyz government for the cancellation of its license.

Russian Platinum also secures 40 percent of the shares. The remaining 20 percent is expected to be transferred to the companies affiliated with Omurbek Babanov.

One of the most influential businessmen in Kyrgyzstan, apparently, should reduce the political risks that will inevitably arise in the process of gold mining.

The Russian-Kazakh-Kyrgyz triumvirate plans to attract the fourth party to the development of the field. One of the well-known western companies is to build a gold recovery plant. Its contribution to the project will be at least $ 250 million.

The western company will become one of the main shareholders of an ambitious project in Kyrgyzstan. This investor will get the shares on a parity basis, from each of the participants of the golden triumvirate.

Government gets an observer role

The gold reserves of Jerooy are estimated at 73–80 tons. The winner of the tender has not yet developed a feasibility study of a major project in Kyrgyzstan.

After receiving a license that cost Vostok-Geologodobycha $ 100 million, investors dealt with the issue of land allocation and an agreement on the supply of electricity to the mine. For almost two years, investors have been discussing these problems with Kyrgyzaltyn and Severelectro.

After receiving the license, Vostok-Geologodobycha reported that it was planned to develop the pit in two ways: the upper part of the ore will be extracted by the open method and the lower part — by the underground one. The project term is 18 years.

The joint venture will produce at least three and a half tons of gold annually.

The government will not participate in the development of the second gold deposit in Kyrgyzstan. The republic will receive $ 286.2 million in taxes, $ 52.8 million in non-tax payments and $ 9.8 million in social contributions annually, Vostok-Geologodobycha report says.

Unstable investment climate

The gold project is launched before the beginning of the presidential campaign in Kyrgyzstan. The authorities promise that the election of a new president will be held without shocks. But experts have no strong confidence in the peaceful transfer of power.

The rallies that began after the arrest of one of the opposition leaders Omurbek Tekebayev and former deputy Sadyr Zhaparov who came to Kyrgyzstan from abroad are likely to continue.

It is not ruled out that the opponents of the White House can build Jerroy into the rally chain. The gold deposit may become a bargaining chip in the struggle for power in the country.

Moreover, one of the presidential candidates Omurbek Babanov directly relates to Jerooy deposit.

The purely economic project can be dragged into a political process with unpredictable consequences.