Interview with Deputy Prime Minister of Republic of Kazakhstan, Minister of Industry and New Technologies Mr. A.O. Issekeshev
What initiatives does the Ministry plan to implement to assist the Kazakhstan mining industry to modernize its technological base?
In general, during the recent years the mining and smelting industry has been enjoying a boom, which was not interrupted even by the global economic crisis. Since 2003 production volumes of metal ores have increased by 350%. Sales of ferrous metallurgy (mining and converting industries) have increased from $2.7 billion in 2003 up to $3.86 billion in 2009, and non-ferrous metallurgy (mining and converting)–from $1.9 up to $5.35 billion.
In 2009, investments into minerals based industries of Kazakhstan amounted to US$21 billion (12 times higher than in 1996). Of that, $4.6 billion was invested into mining and conversion of solid minerals. The greatest volume of investments, next to hydrocarbons, goes to the polymetallic and ferrous metals industries; then uranium, coal, gold, copper and aluminum follow.
The investments are directed into the technical modernization of mining companies and construction of new high added-value enterprises. Kazakhstan and transnational mining and smelting companies working here, despite the crisis, managed not only to preserve the production, but also to continue implementing investment projects.
In the near future, the government will approve the Mining-Smelting Industry Development Program in 2014. The target of the program is the provision of raw materials for the production of high-technology and science-intensive finished products (mechanical engineering, construction, aircraft, space and defense industry). Upon the implementation results of this program we expect 107% growth of gross value added for metallurgy products.
There exists legislation to encourage the transfer of new technologies and a number of state instruments help to stimulate and support companies carrying out modernization.
What steps will the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies take to reduce the time frames for obtaining permits in Kazakhstan mining industry?
The Ministry of Industry and New Technologies undertakes measures against bureaucracy and corruption. The Ministry methodically works on unifying licensing legislation, reducing timeframes for consideration of applications for geological survey, mining and development of reserves, and also on reducing the list of activities subject to licensing.
How do you estimate the perspectives of the long-term growth of the Kazakhstan mining industry? Which minerals are most important for the industry from the long-term perspective?
The increasing of oil, coal and metals production is not a goal in itself as the President mentioned many times. Mineral resources are considered as raw materials for further processing. East-Kazakhstan titanium and magnesium are supplied to external markets not in the form of ore, but as alloys as demanded by Airbus and Boeing plants.
What is your message to the international mining society and foreign investors?
We have civilized rules of play, able man power, an attractive tax legislation and well-developed infrastructure–including water supply, electric power, communications etc. Believe me, in some other countries you can only dream of such conditions. We are absolutely open to bilateral dialogue with business.