The extractive industries are a rough and tumble business in developing countries. Both local and Western companies are assumed to be paying large bribes to get access to lucrative mineral rights and to hamstring their opponents. But Faroz appears to rise above the usual problems.
A look at a recent list of government-issued exploration and mining licenses shows that in the last few years, Faroz has received a total of 12 mining or exploration licenses either directly or through its subsidiaries. 2017 was an especially good year for Sakhibov’s company, as it landed nine licenses in that year alone. Its prospective mining projects include gold, coal, iron ore, granite, and other minerals.
One of its prospects is the Ukobkhona gold field in the country’s north. Faroz had once tried to obtain a license for this field together with a foreign company (See: Lust for Gold) — but the project collapsed after the foreign partner backed out due to a requirement to spend US$ 500,000 on schools and roads in the sparsely populated area.
This time, when the license was granted to Faroz alone, the requirement for social spending seems to have disappeared.