“Bulgaria is a mining country” (Euromines) – the third largest European producer in gold and copper

Why Bulgaria?

  • EU Single Market enables free movement of people, services, goods and capital
  • 10% corporate tax (lowest in the EU)
  • Highly-skilled and multilingual labour
  • Low operating base (staff, rents, utilities)
  • GDP growth at 3-4% in the mid-term

Market overview and key opportunities

The mineral and raw materials industry is important for Bulgaria and one of the best developing sectors in recent years. Labour productivity is close to the EU average. Around 300 companies operate in exploration, extraction and processing of underground natural resources and related activities and services.

Mining represents 4-5% of GDP and supports 40% of electricity generation. Bulgaria is one of the top 30 global coal producing countries. Metallic resources represent 25% of output, of which copper is 98%, lead/zinc 2%.

Bulgaria holds a leading position in European mining. The country ranks third in copper, fourth in gold, fifth in lignite mining.

The main raw materials produced in Bulgaria are lignite, lead-zinc, copper and polymetallic ores, gypsum, limestone, bentonite, kaolin, quartz sands, refractory clays, marble. 80% of mining activities are carried out through open cast mining.

As of August 2017, there were 128 exploration concessions, and 526 concessions for extraction of underground resources:

330 for building materials

73 for industrial minerals

69 for stone-facing materials

19 for metal and mineral resources

18 for oil and natural gas

16 for solid fuels

1 for mining waste

Specific opportunities include:

  • Dundee Precious Metals, Krumovgrad: £136m investment in open pit gold mine. Construction permit granted, mining operations due to start 2018
  • Asarel Medet, Breznik: £60m investment in open pit gold/silver mine, operations expected 2021
  • Asarel Medet, Panagyurishte: ongoing investments in large-scale open pit copper mine

UK expertise and capability in mining equipment (crushing, grinding, flotation processing); health and safety, environmental and social impact assessment; and mine closure, restoration and recycling is all relevant to the opportunities in the Bulgarian market.

Key Mining Players

  • Extraction and processing of copper porphyry gold-bearing ores from Ellatzite deposit, open-pit mine near the town of Etropole 
  • 6.5 km underground rubber-belt conveyor line. 
  • Chelopech mine, the deposit lies in the Panagyurishte mining district where a number of copper-bearing massive sulphide and porphyry copper deposits exist
  • The mining license covers an area of 266 hectares
  • A company for open pit mining and processing of copper ores
  • Provides 50% of the national production of copper ore
  • Processes about 13 million tons of ore per year.

Source: Mining Sector in Bulgaria (September 2017) – The Department for International Trade