The 13th MINEX Kazakhstan Mining & Exploration Forum Kicks Off in Astana
Over 450 delegates from 222 companies and organisations from Kazakhstan and 30 other nations are taking part in the opening session. The delegates were welcomed by Arthur Poliakov, the Executive Chairman of MINEX Forum and Kathy Leach, His Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Arthur Poliakov’s welcome speech text:
Good morning distinguished guests. Your Excellencies.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 13th MINEX Kazakhstan Mining and Exploration Forum.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all sponsors and partners who have been supporting the Forum since its inception in 2010. I also cordially welcome new members to the MINEX Forum community.
In the next two days, we will hear about the latest developments, successful projects, and the best available technologies. We will also discuss the challenges and prospects of managing mineral resources to accelerate the economic and social development of Kazakhstan and other Central Asian republics.
But before we begin, let me remind you what MINEX Forum stands for and what we are trying to achieve.
Kazakhstan is endowed with natural resources. Since its independence in 1991, Kazakhstan conducted numerous geological exploration studies adding over 200 deposits of base, precious, rare-earth, and ferrous metals. At the same time, the newly independent Kazakhstan, like many other former Soviet republics, experienced its first wave of overreaching and failed projects temporarily making the country less desirable to international investors.
The development of sustainable and globally recognised mining practices in Kazakhstan began in 2010. In that year Kazakhstan’s leadership stopped the moratorium on issuing new exploration licenses. It also made long-term commitments to modernise the mining and geological industry making it open to domestic and international investors.
The objectives of the MINEX Kazakhstan Forum in 2010 were, and still are, to provide an unbiased international platform to facilitate the exchange between investors, miners, government agencies and technology companies in the alignment of Kazakhstan’s mining and exploration industry with the world-class management practices and technology.
High resource potential and medium investment risks are key factors in attracting investment in exploration and mineral production projects. Recognising this in 2015 Kazakhstan began the transition to the internationally recognised CRIRSCO standards and started integrating The Kazakhstan Public Reporting Code for Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves (the KAZRC Code).
A new Subsoil and Subsoil Use Code designed on Western Australia’s model was adopted in 2017. In the same year, The International Arbitration Centre was created in Astana to guarantee fair and fully independent arbitration for potential investment and business trade disputes.
When we were planning the first MINEX Forum in Astana thirteen years ago, most of the international events were about Oil and Gas. Opportunities in the Mining and Metals sector in the country were relatively invisible to the wider international community. Ridden with corruption scandals, lack of transparency and wheeler-dealing, Kazakhstan’s mining scared many major international investors. Since 2010, the business climate in the industry has dramatically improved, and its future looks very promising.
Let me share a few facts with you.
In 2022 Kazakhstan has attracted a record amount of direct foreign investment amounting to 28 billion US dollars. This is the highest figure in the last 10 years. The largest volume of investments went into the mining industry exceeding 12 billion dollars and representing an increase of 25%.
As the world’s economic growth is strongly associated with the development of metal-intensive renewable energy infrastructure, the level of Foreign Direct Investment in Kazakhstan’s mining industry is expected to grow even further. We are delighted that many of tomorrow’s investors have joined the Forum and are present in this room today.
қош келдіңіз! Welcome!
When discussing investment prospects, let us remind ourselves that mining is a strategic business. It can succeed if it is built on the following foundation principles.
The first one is, of course, “The resources”. The geologists often joke: “We know that there are abundant mineral resources in Kazakhstan. The trick is to find them”.
This leads to the second principle – “Knowledge”. Mining is a risky business and mistakes can be very costly. That’s why keeping up with the latest technologies and efficient management practices is critical to ensure that mining operations are economically viable at all stages from prospecting to the production of added-value products.
The third principle is “Trust”. When a government agency issues an exploration license, it expects that the license holders will do their best to convert the promising mineral area into a full-scale mining operation creating jobs, paying taxes, and adding value to the local and national economy. On the other hand, the licence holders also expect that the State will be consistent with its promises and can guarantee equal, fair, and transparent treatment for all, not just for the lucky few.
“Sustainability” is the fourth principle which holds everything together. It usually takes a substantial financial investment and at least ten years to build a new mine. Miners and their investors reasonably expect that after building the mine they will keep their licence to operate and that the mine will remain economically viable for the whole lifespan. It is also worth noting that to maintain sustainability the mining industry in Kazakhstan should relentlessly work towards reducing the environmental footprint and supporting the local community.
We believe that mining in Kazakhstan has reached a pivotal stage. It holds all the necessary ingredients to make it a world-class success story. However, we need to constantly adhere to the earlier-mentioned principles when developing Kazakhstan’s mining projects and creating legislative acts. Let us also remember that it takes all involved stakeholders to make mining in Kazakhstan a successful business. Resources, Knowledge, Trust, and Sustainability hold the key to the great future of mining in Kazakhstan.
I invite you all to share your views and concerns during the panel discussions and cast your opinions in the interactive polls that we will be running before each session.
I sincerely hope that MINEX Kazakhstan will empower you with new knowledge and connections which will greatly help you and your businesses.
On this positive note, I declare the opening of the 13th MINEX Kazakhstan Mining and Exploration Forumю