The mining sector is the leading sector for U.S. export and investment in the Kyrgyz Republic but it remains a politically sensitive area with significant government presence; all foreign investors must be fully aware of the risks involved in doing business in this sector. In 2020 the country exported 18 tons of gold worth $987 million, while in 2021 those figures dropped to 5.6 tons and $308 million, respectively, following the government takeover of the Kumtor gold mine. Despite the risks, supplying the mining industry provides opportunities for U.S. exporters, whether in providing equipment or professional services (see opportunities below). Additionally, mineral resources for clean energy technologies have high geological potential in the Kyrgyz Republic.
The State Committee on Industry, Energy and Subsoil Use, which as a result of the government restructuring in February 2021 was moved to the Ministry of Energy and Industry, maintains a website to update prospective investors about sites and bids.
Foreign firms are commonly employed to conduct feasibility studies as well as explore potential reserves. American companies are perceived to provide the highest quality technical assistance. U.S.-manufactured machinery, particularly excavating, loading, and transportation equipment has been utilized in the past at the Kumtor gold mine. Such equipment could be used at other mines following further investment and construction. Mining executives from the Kyrgyz Republic regularly travel to the United States in order to pursue purchasing contracts and partnerships with U.S. mining equipment manufacturers and servicing companies. In addition to gold, other existing and new mineral deposits, including those needed for clean energy technologies, could be developed with additional investment. These include silver, tin, copper, tungsten, zinc, aluminum, iron, lead, manganese, molybdenum, chromium, cobalt, and nickel.