As demand for resources continues unabated from China and India, the quest to find new mineral deposits is gathering pace in traditional resource-rich countries as well as non-traditional sources.
Much has been written about the new interest in exploration and mine development in Africa and Mongolia in recent times but Central Asia is another new resources hotbed, and Kazakhstan in particular.
Companies from the UK, Europe and Canada have realized the opportunities offered in the large landlocked country, formerly part of the Soviet Union, and are actively mining and exploring in a number of areas.
Companies from Australia and China are following suit as interest in the emerging Kazakh market gathers momentum.
Kazakhstan has 15% of the world’s uranium reserves, 8% of its zinc, 7% of the world’s manganese and 4% of its iron ore. It also ranks in the top 10 countries for chrome and bauxite reserves while other resources such as gold, lead and oil & gas are playing a role.
The increasing interest has also led to the country’s resources industry being put on show at various conferences, forums, expos and workshops.
Australian Government-supported business organizations Austrade and Austmine have recognized the opportunities on offer and recently held a joint mining mission to Kazakhstan.
The mission provided Australian participants with high-level access to major Kazakh mining companies, decision-makers in the government and local distributors, agents and experts.
Austrade senior trade commissioner for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Dan Tebutt says many gains are to be had in Kazakhstan as potential there is only just beginning to be realized.
“Kazakhstan’s resources sector is focused on increasing productivity, reducing environmental impact and improving community welfare – but it still has a way to go to realize its full potential.”
Just as it has done in various other developing economies around the world, Australian expertise can, and should, play a role in development of the mining industry in Kazakhstan.
The rewards from sharing this expertise are wide ranging with mining companies and their financial backers direct beneficiaries, along with the local economy and local communities.

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