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Opportunities and challenges in Turkmenistan’s mineral reserves

The recent surge in green energy initiatives is transforming 2024 into a pivotal year for Central Asia’s renewable sector. In March, ACWA Power, a major energy player from Saudi Arabia, announced significant investments in wind power plants in Uzbekistan, totaling over 1GW of power capacity. Following suit, Kazakhstan inked agreements to develop 1GW of wind power in the Jetisu region. Amidst this flurry of activity, critical minerals have emerged as key focal points, particularly in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

Kazakhstan’s prominence as a lithium hotspot attracted substantial investments totaling $500 million from German stakeholders, with similar interest from South Korea and China. These investments underscore the pivotal role of the extractives industry in facilitating the energy transition, as critical minerals are indispensable for renewable energy and storage technologies.

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Turkmenistan, with its abundant oil and gas reserves, is now poised to leverage its untapped mineral wealth to become a significant player in the green energy revolution. While the exact extent of Turkmenistan’s reserves remains undisclosed, there are strong indications of vast lithium deposits in Western Turkmenistan, notably in locations like Karabogazgol Bay. Additionally, the country boasts significant iron and copper ore reserves, crucial for electricity grid development.

Exploration activities in Turkmenistan’s Southern regions hold promise for further discoveries of iron and copper deposits, while weathered-crust derivatives in the Lebap province suggest the presence of rare earth metals essential for digital technologies.

Despite Turkmenistan’s potential, the lack of comprehensive data poses challenges for investors, necessitating greater transparency and disclosure mechanisms. However, with strategic investments and exploration efforts, Turkmenistan can position itself as a key contributor to the global green energy ecosystem, driving economic prosperity and sustainable development in the region.

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