China Invests In Tajikistan Silver Deposits, Roads, And Aluminum

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China’s Kashgar Xinyu Dadi Mining Investment Company, based in China’s Far West Xinjiang Province, have agreed to develop the major Yakchilva deposit, which is situated in the remote Murghab region of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province high in the Pamir Mountains.

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The Yakchilva deposit is estimated to have 205 tonnes of silver, and an agreement to develop it was signed with the Tajikistan government in Dushanbe. However, the deposit itself is remote and the region lacks infrastructure, such as a reliable power grid. The deal was reportedly signed on June 14th, on the eve of President Xi Jinping’s visit to Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe, to attend the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia. Fifteen bilateral agreements were signed while Xi was in town. These included the terms of a cash grant, an agreement on the second stage of construction work on the road linking Dushanbe to Kulma, which is on the Chinese border, and the refurbishment of the Bokhtar-Kulyab railroad. China Machinery Engineering Corporation has also agreed to modernise the Talco aluminum plant, the largest of its kind in the region, at a cost of US$545 million.

The terms of the deals have not been made public, however the Talco aluminum plant is widely reputed to be controlled by the Tajik President’s brother-in-law, Hasan Asadullozoda. There are sovereign debt issues as well. At the start of this year, Tajikistan’s external debt was US$2.9 billion. Of that, US$1.2 billion is owed to China. The volume of Tajikistan’s gross domestic product last year has been estimated at a nominal US$7.3 billion. (PPP: $30 billion)
The Yakchilva deposits may be a Belt & Road deal, but its also one that could help Tajikistan settle its debts to China.

An EITI Extractive Industries report on Tajikistan detailing the Yakchilva Mine be found here

Tajikistan Fast Facts
Population: 9,276,200
GDP Per Annum (PPP): $30 billion
GDP Per Capita (PPP): $3,354
Borders: Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan

Trade Between China and Tajikistan has been increasing, with the new main inland Port at Karasu, on the Chinese side of the Tajik border at Taxkorgan, seeing a marked increase in trade. However this is mainly to China’s benefit with exports to Tajikistan reaching some $1.3 billion, while Tajikistan exports some $46 million in return. This is mainly made up of aluminum, lead, gold, zinc and cotton. Tajikistan also exports more to Kazakhstan, Turkey, Switzerland, Algeria and India than it does to China.

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Related Reading:

The China Alternative – Tajikistan

An Introduction To The Eurasian Development Bank