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Kazakhstan announces new mining laws

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Kazakhstan has announced a new change to its current mining codes in a bid to encourage international investment.

Its prime minister, Serik Akhmetov, told the country’s Ministry of Industry and New Technologies to have the concept for a new Mining Code ready by July 1 to increase the country attractiveness to explorers.

Despite increased mining interest in Russia and the CIS nations, Kazakhstan has lagged behind other nations in terms of discoveries, with Akhmetov stating that the nation had not had any significant discoveries in more than two decades, with the last large-scale exploration programs carried out in the 1950s.

In its bid to attract these investors it is focusing on removing many of the bureaucratic procedures and roadblocks to geological information that currently exist.

Kazakhstan is also considering tax incentives for foreign investors.

Aset Isekeshev, Kazakhstan’s minister of industry and new technologies, said Rio Tinto is already looking to spend more than $13 million on exploration, whilst the government is looking to spend around USD$ 1 billion to fund increased exploration.

It is also developing a model based on Australian practices to attract increased exploration.

Earlier this year the Business Monitor rated Kazakhstan and Russia at the top of its Risk/Reward ratings  “largely due to the substantial rewards on offer in these countries relative to other European players,” it said.

“We expect Kazahkstan's coal production to reach 123 million tonnes by 2017, at an annual average growth rate of 2.1% from 2012. Our forecast is slightly below the government's aim of achieving production capacity of 138mtpa by 2016 and up to 151mtpa by 2020. Most of the growth will come from Bogatyr Coal, as the company enters the third stage of developing its Bogatyr mine.” 

Australian mining services companies Leussink Engineering and XT (formerly Xstrata Technologies) have already been operating in the country.

Lindsay Clark, GM for minerals processing at XT, said the company recognised the importance of Russia and the CIS regions, especially the potential of the future projects and expansions in these regions.

“We have been working in the region for some time, from our very first IsaMill in Kyrgyzstan Republic, to other recent IsaMill and Jameson Cell projects in Russia and Kazakhstan,” Clark said.

The country is holding a number of events, such as Minex Central Asia, in early April, the Astana Mining and Metallurgy Congress in early June (which will also host the World Mining Congress Organizing Committee), and MiningWorld Central Asia in mid-September in an effort to raise its profile.

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