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Opportunities in sustainable mining in Kazakhstan for Finnish companies

Mineral resources

Kazakhstan’s vast hydrocarbon and mineral reserves form the backbone of its economy. Kazakhstan is endowed with abundant mineral resources including coal, ferrous and non-ferrous metals:

  • the world’s largest uranium producer (33%of world output in 2021)
  • 3rd in the world in terms of titanium production
  • 7th for zinc
  • 8th for lead
  • 11th for gold
  • the world’s 8th largest reserves of iron ore with 5 billion tons
  • the second in manganese ore reserves (600 million tons)
  • current reserves of copper are estimated at 36 million tons
  • 30% of the global chromite ore reserves and 95% of global chromium reserves

The country is attracting investment to further develop gold and uranium mining as commodity prices rise.

The World Bank estimates that there are over 5000 unexplored deposits in Kazakhstan, valued at over 46 trillion dollars.

Lithium is becoming increasingly important as the electric vehicles industry grows. Electrification of transport is one of the best ways of decarbonization as the lithium-ion battery buses contribute less to air pollution than previous diesel models. The electric buses began being deployed in Astana in 2020. The government has plans of local production and export of electric vehicles in the future. There are seven lithium fields in the East Kazakhstan region. The government of Kazakhstan has allocated more than $1 million for two new geological exploration projects. The aim is to find lithium that the electric car industry desperately needs for battery production.

Main companies

More than 230 companies are involved in the mining business. ​ The main mining companies in Kazakhstan are Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), Kazzinc, KAZAKHMYS, KAZMinerals, ArcelorMittal, Tau-Ken Samruk, KazAtomProm.

Investments in mining industry

Exports of mining equipment to Kazakhstan (and development of mining industry) have been limited by a lack of investment. In 2018 Kazakhstan implemented new sub-soil usage legislation and in 2021 the government was reviewing existing legislation to encourage foreign investment in the mining sector. In July 2022 Kaznedra platform was created. Thе platform will combine and integrate all existing information systems subsoil use and will facilitate comprehensive service support to investors in a ‘single window’ format.

Environmental challenges

Mining industry is among the main polluters in Kazakhstan. Mining uses significant amounts of resources (water, land, energy), produces waste (tailings, rocks, and wastewater) — and causes severe harm to the environment.

On 2.1.2021, a new Environmental code was passed into law, setting out the environmental requirements for subsoil use activities. Conducting mining operations requires environmental permits, which determine annual limits for emissions, water use and water discharge. Payments for the negative impact on the environment are established by the tax legislation.

The Strategy on Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2060 was approved by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan on 2.2.2023. For the implementation of renewable energy technologies in the mining and metallurgical industry, adjustments are needed in the national strategy for socio-economic development. Clearly defined ecological fiscal regulation and green taxonomy will be playing a critical part in supporting sustainable and responsible mining.

ESG issues become important in companies’ policy – especially visible in case of larger players. Mining companies wanting to reduce their environmental impact are switching to more eco-friendly equipment. Measures already taken include investments in new technology, programs to minimize the impact on the landscape and biological diversity, reducing energy and water consumption, strict control over all emissions and their impact on the environment. Some companies started to use environmentally conscious in-situ leaching method, allowing to substantially minimize impact on the environment, biodiversity, water resources and public health.

Seize the opportunity

Equipment and technologies for development of mining industry are extremely needed in Kazakhstan. Much of the technology and management practices of the industry date from Soviet times. Around 50% of mining, processing, and smelting enterprises currently use outdated equipment that is often in need of repair.  Almost all mining companies still lack environmentally friendly technologies.  Kazakhstan does not have its own mining machinery industry and relies heavily on imports.

Finnish companies can provide equipment, technologies, and solutions for sustainable mining development in Kazakhstan.

Target sectors

  • Mining
  • Water management
  • Energy efficiency
  • Environmental control
  • Digital mining
  • Monitoring of emission levels
  • Renewable energy
  • Mining consulting

Solutions or products needed

  • bulldozers, drilling equipment, explosives, trucks, drill rigs, trams, cranes, crushing and pulverizing machinery, dredges, hydraulic excavators, quarrying machinery and equipment, elevators, compressors, hammer mills and specialized trucks
  • equipment and solutions that address erosion, formation of sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, contamination of groundwater and surface water as well as products that minimize harm towards the environment
  • mining software and systems development
  • business process consulting
  • remote operation or automation of machinery
  • carbon capture, storage, and utilization technologies
  • solutions for determination and automatic monitoring of emission levels and carbon footprint
  • process monitoring and environmental control solutions
  • materials and energy efficient technologies, machinery, and automation, digital solutions
  • renewable energy projects
  • low grade ore processing technologies
  • slurry and/or dirty solution filtration
  • tailings / waste handling and disposal
  • water management solutions

Main exhibitions and events in mining industry 2023

MINEX Kazakhstan, 19.-20.4.2023, Astana

MinTech Pavlodar – 2023, 24.-26.5.2023, Pavlodar

MinTech Ust-Kamennogorsk -2023, 30.5.-1.6.2023, Ust-Kamennogorsk

International Astana Mining & Metallurgy Congress, 1.-2.6.2023, Astana

International Exhibition for Mining and Exploration, Mineral & Coal Processing and Metallurgical Technologies, 20.-22.6.2023, Karaganda

Mining and Metals Central Asia 2023 20.-22.9.2023, Almaty

MinTech Aktobe – 2023, 18.-20.10.2023, Aktobe

TF activities available for Finnish companies

Team Finland network can support Finnish companies in the activities in Kazakhstan:

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Altyn Shakirkhanova, Senior Business Advisor / Head of EastCham Branch in Kazakhstan [email protected].

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