30 Sep 2021 16:56

VTB to open line of credit of $1 bln for Navoi MMP in Uzbekistan

TASHKENT. Sept 30 (Interfax) - VTB Group is to open a five-year $1-billion line of credit for Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Plant (MMP), the bank said in a statement.

VTB group, Navoi MMP state enterprise and JSC Navoi MMP have signed the agreement on cooperation in financing the plant's investment program.

Andrei Kostin, VTB president and board chairman, and Kuvandik Sanakulov, CEO of Navoi MMP, have signed the document. The ceremony took place as part of the Uzbekistan: Achievements of Economic Reforms and Prospects forum being held on September 29-30 in Tashkent.

"The agreement with Navoi MMP is the largest transaction for VTB in Uzbekistan. We hope that it will open up new opportunities for the development of the enterprise, the entire mining and metallurgical industry and the country's related industries. We are ready to provide our colleagues not only with financial leverage, but also much expertise on matters for implementing the investment programs, as well as operations on international capital markets, along with implementing the environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks agenda," Kostin said after the ceremony.

In turn, the country's Deputy Prime Minister and Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Minister, Jamshid Kuchkarov, noted that the deal was possible owing to the large-scale transformation of the mining sector and Navoi MMP specifically launched in 2018. The transformation of the company is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

As previously reported, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev approved via resolution the reorganization of the plant and the creation of separate enterprises based on it, the Navoiuran state enterprise for processing uranium, and JSC Navoi MMP for mining gold and silver.

Navoi MMP is wholly owned by the government. The main gold ore base of the enterprise is one of the world's largest deposits, Muruntau in central Kyzyl Kum. The plant includes four hydrometallurgical plants, one heap leaching mine, and a gold recovery shop.

Navoi MMP mined around 2.6 million ounces of gold last year, placing fifth among the world's largest gold mining companies.