Azerbaijan is a well-known gold producing country in Eurasia region. The country is known for producing a number of important minerals and with the recent development in its mining sector, there are increased exploration activities. Oil and gas are the two most dominant minerals in the country’s economy but gold is among its most significant minerals and is one of the most lucrative sectors you can invest in. With most of the country’s gold resources still unexploited there is still room for more interested investors to take advantage of.
History of Gold Mining in the Region
The history gold production the country’s territories date back thousands of years. Gold mining can be traced back to the time of Albanian kingdom. However, early gold mining was done on small scale using rudimentary methods. Most of the gold mined then was used for trade in the kingdom and with the neighboring kingdoms.
The most recent history traces gold mining to around 1894 when Mekhor brothers begun operating a copper mining operation that also produced gold at the present day Gedabek gold mine. However, the mining operations came to an abrupt end in 1917, when the Russian revolution began.
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Further gold mining were mainly done on small scale by the locals. Today gold mining is still an important part of the country’s economy. Gold produced in the country is still much smaller in quantity when compared to some of the leading gold producers in the world. This is perhaps because most of the country’s gold is produced by small scale operations. However, with the entry of large scale miners in the recent times, the gold production in the country is likely to soar. Some of the major players in the country’s gold production include the following.
Anglo Asian Mining
This is the leading gold mining company in Azerbaijan. The company owns rights to six major gold deposits in the country. These gold deposits include Soyutlu, Gedabek, Gyzyl, Ourdubad, Vezhnali and Gosha Bulag. For all these rights the company has signed a Production sharing agreement (PSA) with the government to mine about 400 tons of gold and over 2500 tons of silver.
Currently the company operates two major gold mines; the Gosha gold mine and the Gedabek gold mine producing a total of about 80,000 ounces of gold each year. The Gedabek gold mine which is located at about 55 km from Ganja City is the largest of the two mines with an estimated gold resource of about 1.05m ounces of gold, about 8.62m ounces of silver and over 81,750 tons of copper. The mine produces about 50,000 ounces of gold annually. The Gosha gold mine on the other hand is a small mine on a 300km2 site and located about 50kms from the Gadabek gold mine. The mine begun operations in 2013 and is expected to produce about 15,000 ounces of gold each year for five years. To improve production the Anglo Asian has introduced a new technology at the mine. The ore is leached then agitated to increase its gold output of sulfides and oxides by over 65% and 85% respectively. This helps increase the overall gold output by about 20%.
AIMROC is another important gold producing company in Azerbaijan. The company signed a production sharing agreement (PSA) with the government in two 2006 and owns the mining rights to six gold projects in the country. This gold projects are Goydag, Kurekchay river basin, garadagh, Dagkesaman, Chovdar and Kohbemadan. The company runs only one gold mine with the rest of the projects still under development. The Chevdar gold mine started operating in 2012 and is estimated to contain about 40 tons of gold resources.