September 18, 2014
Uzbekistan continues ramping up its industrial capacity through commissioning new manufacturable objects focused on import substitution. Under these processes, Navoi Mining and Smelting Plant has completed a project on modernization and expansion of production at Qizilqum Phosphorite Plant.
Today, the agricultural sector of Uzbekistan is fully provided with domestically produced fertilizers, while 15 years ago the country had to import significant amounts of raw materials from Kazakhstan and Russia to produce phosphate fertilizers. The tendency needed to be reversed, since the country’s agriculture, and thus its food security could not depend on the situation on foreign markets and supplies from abroad. Therefore, in 1996, the country made a strategic decision on import substitution of mineral fertilizers by developing the Jeroy-Sardaryo phosphorite deposit in the Central Qizilqum, which ranks as the world’s tenth in the reserves and resources. According to geologists, its reserves amount to over 300 million tons of ore, and nearly 60 million tons of phosphate rock. They will meet the demand of Uzbek agriculture in mineral fertilizers for many years ahead.
Specialists of NMSP were entrusted with the construction of a mining and processing complex. The first stage of the complex was commissioned at a record-breaking time. The first shipments of phosphate fertilizer to the Qo’qon Superphosphate Plant began yet in 1998, and production of calcined phosphate concentrate to the instant firing technology for the production of ammophos started in 2001. However, it looks so easy just on the paper. Domestic builders had to develop and apply complex and unique technological solutions for many times. For example, in order to increase the efficiency of industrial development of the field, improve the quality and increase the volume of phosphate production NMSP specialists developed a special compound flowsheet of phosphate rock enrichment that combined elements of the ‘dry’ technology with deep flushing methods of enrichment. The scheme has reduced the chlorine content in the concentrate and thus improved the manufacturability of the produced feedstock. German experts have made a tangible contribution in this process. As a result, the plant launched the so-called ‘wet’ cleaning shop, and in 2007 it launched the production of a new product – washed and unwashed calcined dried concentrates, as well as significantly improved the quality of phosphate products.
As part of the development strategy based on upgrade, technical and technological extension of production, as well as to meet the demand in the domestic market, it was decided to extend the manufacture of the phosphorite concentrate. NMSP signed a contract with the German company Engineering Dobersek GmBH worth 19.96 million euros, which was supposed to make the design of the processing part, supply hardware and spare parts, carry out installation and commissioning turnkey works. The total cost of the project exceeded $59 million, including $24.9 million of NMSP own funds, as well as the Khalq Bank loan of $35 million.
The second stage of the Qizilqum Phosphorite Plant was launched on the threshold of Independence Day of Uzbekistan. After reaching the design capacity, the plant will be able to increase the output of washed calcined phosphorite concentrate from 400 thousand to 716 thousand tons per year, creating more than 130 additional jobs.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
Urgench will host an international conference “Development of cooperation in the Aral Sea Basin to mitigate consequences of environmental catastrophe” on 28-29 October 2014.
The main purpose of the conference is to discuss the situation in the Aral Sea Basin and mobilize the efforts of international community to carry out practical actions in implementing programs and projects aimed at improving the environmental and socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea Basin, as well as ensuring further development of international cooperation to reduce the negative consequences of this global environmental catastrophe.
At the plenary session, the participants will discuss implementation of regional projects and consider reports of the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and international organizations and donors.
One of the greatest global environmental disasters of modern times is the tragedy of the Aral Sea, which the countries of Central Asia and their populations of some 60 million are facing. Its environmental, climatic, socioeconomic and humanitarian consequences make it a direct threat to sustainable development in the region, and to the health, gene pool and future of the people living there.
The Aral Sea crisis directly affects Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and indirectly – Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Until 1960, the Aral Sea among the largest endorheic water bodies in the world. It was 426 kilometers long and 284 kilometers wide, with an area of 68,900 square kilometers, water volume of 1,083 cubic kilometers, and a maximum depth of 68 m.
The Aral Sea region had a large variety of flora and fauna, its waters contained 38 species of fish; it served as habitat for a number of rare and endemic animals, among which is the Saiga antelopes; and its flora included 638 species of higher plants.
The Aral Sea played a vital role in the development of the regional economy, its industries, sources of employment and sustainable social infrastructure. In the past, there used to be richest fisheries in the world: 30,000 to 35,000 tons of fish were caught annually in the waters of the Aral Sea. More than 80 per cent of those living along the Aral Sea shore were employed in catching, processing and transporting fish and fish products. The fertile lands of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya deltas and the rich grazing lands provided employment for more than 100,000 people in livestock rearing, poultry breeding and cultivating agricultural crops.
The Aral Sea also served to regulate the climate and mitigated sharp fluctuations in the weather throughout the region, exerting a positive influence on living conditions, agriculture and the environment.
The problems of the Aral Sea arose and expanded into a threat in the 1960s, as a result of the feckless regulation of the major cross-border rivers in the region — the Syr Darya and Amu Darya, which had previously provided some 56 cubic kilometers of water to the Aral Sea each year. Rise in the population of the area, urbanization, intensive land development and construction of major hydro technical and irrigation facilities on the water courses of the Aral Sea basin carried out in previous years without regard for environmental consequences led to the desiccation of one of the most beautiful water bodies on the planet. Within a single generation, an entire sea was virtually destroyed. The process of environmental degradation continues, and the Aral Sea region is becoming a lifeless wasteland.
Over the past 50 years, the total outflow from rivers into the Aral Sea has fallen almost 4.5 times, to an average of 12.7 cubic kilometers. The water surface has shrunk by eight times and the volume has decreased by more than a factor of 13. The water level, which until 1960 had reached a maximum of 53.4 meters, has fallen by 29 meters. Salinity has increased by up to 25 times and is now 11 times higher than the average mineralization of the world ocean.
The salty Aralkum desert with a surface area of more than 5.5 million hectares is inexorably taking over the Aral region and now covers the dried-up portion of the sea that was once home to rich flora and fauna and served as the natural climatic regulator of the adjacent areas. Constant environmental risk, with its negative impact on the quality of life, health and, most importantly, the population’s gene pool now affects not only the areas around the Aral Sea, but the whole region of Central Asia.
More than 75 million tons of dust and toxic salts enter the atmosphere annually from the Aral Sea. The dust plumes that rise from the bottom are up to 400 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide. According to scientists, the dust from the Aral Sea is already embedded in the glaciers of the Pamir and Tian Shan Mountains, as well as the Arctic.
A complex set of ecological-climatic, socioeconomic and demographic problems with far-reaching global consequences has arisen in the Aral Sea region.
Number of economically active population of Uzbekistan averaged 13.406 million persons or 43.8% of the total population, the State Statistics Committee of Uzbekistan said.
In January-June 2014, according to the preliminary data, the number of population engaged in the economy was 12.715 million persons and increased by 2.5% year-on-year.
The significant growth in the number of employed persons is marked in transport and communication (by 3.9%), agriculture and forestry (3.9%), housing and utilities and non-productive personal services (3.7%), trade, catering, sales and procurement (3.6%), construction (3.4%).
In January-June 2014, the occupational level of economically active population (ratio of the number of persons employed in the economy to economically active population) was 94.8%.
As a whole, the share of persons employed in the non-state sector reached 81.2% in the first half of 2014 versus 80.6% in January-June 2013.
The number of citizens registered through labor agencies as those who are looking for a job was 9,400 persons as of the end of June 2014, which is 4,300 persons less than as of the end of June 2013 (13,700 persons).
In January-June 2014, the number of the unemployed defined in compliance with the Method for calculation of unoccupied population which requires employment, approved by the Resolution of the Government from 24 May 2007 was 691,400 persons and the rate of unemployment makes 5.2% of economically active population.
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