With advent of the exploration in the Balkans, Bulgaria, Turkey, Caucasus and Central Asia over the last two decades, the Western Tethys region is fast emerging as one of the world’s mining hotspots. Endowed with copper, gold, lithium, cobalt, nickel, borates, potash, rare earth metals and uranium, Western Tethys region offers commercial opportunities for development of traditionally unrecognised deposit types and new districts, as well within long-recognised areas.
Low cost profiles, developed infrastructure, skilled local workforces as well as emerging changes in the government policies aimed at encouraging foreign investment highlight the Tethys as an emerging and highly attractive area for international miners and investors. From high-grade development projects to high-tech operating projects, the Western Tethys region remains underexplored.
To successfully develop mining projects in the Western Tethys region, companies need to focus on Sustainability, Responsibility and Innovation.
Economic, political and social environment is shifting across the region. Many countries are embracing opportunities for sustaining economic growth while reducing environmental footprint. As mining is historically associated with environmental risks, low tech and labour-intensive workplaces, its role in further economic development agendas is often questioned.
Environmental impact of mining, labour conditions and relations continue to be a gating issue for miners. Disputes and accidents instantly get media attention and governments are under increased pressure to adopt progressive policies.
In the foreseeable future metals and raw materials will be essential for securing long term economic growth and advancement of material intensive industries such as car manufacturing, electronics, constructions, energy. Across the region, jurisdictions continue to find ways to work with communities while securing supply of valuable commodities.
In 2010 the European Union introduced Horizon 2020 programme to stimulate cooperation between miners, academics and local communities and to develop efficient and sustainable solutions to meet the needs of modern society for metals and minerals.
There is an urging need for having an open discussion between miners, investors, politicians, academics and NGOs to address the contributions of the mining industry to economy, environment and society to the Western Tethys countries.