Rio Tinto is planning an estimated spend of US$13 million for the initial phase of geological exploration at its operations in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan’s Minister of Industry and New Technology Assets Issekeshev says, “Before the end of the year we will have a total of four agreements with major international companies. One of them is Rio Tinto. Investments of the company will reach $13 million at the initial stage. There are also another three agreements with Japanese and South Korean companies.”

According to the minister, the biggest challenge for the industry and the company as well would be train the workforce to apply new technology approaches and facilitate transfer of technology. The minister also revealed that the country is contemplating cooperation with other mining giants such as KORES, JOGMEC and Iluka Resources.

He said: “We have thoroughly studied mining industry practices of other countries such as Australia and Canada. We have developed a model based primarily on Australia’s practices to attract investment into the geological exploration sector. Australia has issued 23,000 licences for geological exploration.

“There is a huge number of smaller exploration companies, whereas in Kazakhstan there are only 400 contracts. Our task is to change the situation in order to attract investors.”

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