South African miner Gold Fields hopes an exploration deal in Kyrgyzstan has bought time to find something just as valuable as the copper and gold it seeks: the support of the local population in this volatile corner of Central Asia. Its joint venture in the former Soviet republic has resumed drilling eight months after horsemen armed with petrol bombs and sticks stormed its remote camp, beating a security manager and issuing death threats to local residents (see
The joint venture, which Gold Fields operates with Toronto- and AIM-listed Orsu Metals, has spent about $20 million over five years and holds the rights to explore the region until the end of 2015.