Ancient Gold mining in the Balkan region is well documented starting in the medieval times, but modern mining begun in just the last 50 years. Most of this mining was done in the region that covers the three countries; Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo. Other than gold some of the other metals mined in the region include, zinc, copper and lead.
The civil strife in the then Yugoslavia that began in 1991 greatly affected gold mining in the region. However, with the end of the war in early 2000 and the gaining of independence of both Macedonia and Kosovo from Yugoslavia and Serbia respectively, the mining sectors in this countries has begun to grow again. A number of foreign investors have been awarded mining concessions for gold and this is expected to promote an increase in the country’s gold production.
Gold Mining in Albania
Mining has taken place in what is now Albania for many thousands of years. Other than gold the other major minerals mined in Albania include petroleum, coal and natural gas most of which are found in the southwest regions of the country. The country is also know to produce copper, cobalt, nickel, dolomite, asbestos, silver, bauxite and kaolin among others, most of which are found in the northern section of the country.
There have been increased investments in the gold mining sector in the recent past and this is likely to increase the country’s gold production. Some of the major players in the country’s gold sector include the Arian Resources which owns Perlat Copper-Gold-Silver-Cobalt mine located in the Puke district of Albania. This mine is part of a 290 hectares exploration permit that runs for 25 years. The mine produces copper, gold, silver and cobalt.
Another important player in the country’s gold mining sector is the Tirex Resources which owns mining rights to the Mirdita District. The company initially got an exploration license for copper and zinc but exploration activities have shown the presence of high grade gold and silver in the region. The company is now working on a mining project to extract the gold.
Also Read: Bulgaria’s Ancient Gold Mines
Gold Mining in Macedonia
Macedonia is also well endowed with minerals resources that include gold, lead, copper, silver and cadmium among others. Gold mining in Macedonia dates back to the time of Alexander the Great, where the gold mined was used to fund the running of the Roman Empire. Gold mining has continued to present day and holds an important place in the country’s economy. Following years of repressed production, the country has embarked on a program to rekindle its mining sector.
Today there are several gold projects in the country. These include the Ilovica gold-copper project which is the first of such Greenfield development in the country. The project is owned by EUromax Resources and covers about 500 hectares in a 1,500 ha concession area. Construction of the mine stated in 2016 with mining expected to commence in 2018.
Another gold producing mine in the country is the Buchim Copper mine which is an open pit mine containing gold, silver and copper. The mine was established in 1979 and it is owned and run by the Solway industries. The ore mined here is made up of about 0.3g/t of gold. Other than the above two projects there are several other gold mining projects still under exploration. These include two prospecting concessions and two exploration concessions held by the Reservoir Minerals.
Gold Mining in Kosovo
Kosovo is another minerals rich country in the Balkan region. Gold in Kosovo is often found accompany other minerals such as zinc, copper and lead among others, although several clear alluvial reserves have been found along rivers. For many years gold in Kosovo was mainly mined in the Artana mine which operated between 1939 and 1989. This was the gold mine with the highest gold content in the entire Yugoslavia then. Before its closure the mine had produced about 11.9 tons of gold.
Today the major gold mine in Kosovo is the Trpeza mine located in Malisevo within the larger district of Prizren. The mine is estimated to contain a gold reserve of about 120 million tons at a 1.18g/t of gold grade. This translates to about 142 tons of gold.
There are also several projects under exploration. These include the Slivovo exploration which is a joint venture between the government and the Avrupa Resource which is a subsidiary of the Bymecut International Ltd of Australia. The exploration has been concentrated on the Peshter Gussan block that has shown signs of gold deposits. Avrupa also holds a second exploration licence for the Meovit region adjacent to the old Artana gold mine.