MINEX Central Asia 2013 – the 4th Mining and Exploration Forum was held from 16 to 18 April 2013 in Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan. The Forum was organised with the official support of the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of the Republic of Kazakhstan under the key theme “Promoting partnerships, diversification and investment.”
Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan sent welcome address to the Forum participants, which was presented by Mr. Kairat Kelimbetov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan who took part in the Forum opening on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The opening session of the Forum was also attended by the senior officials of the foreign governments – Mr. Jan Vapaavuori, The Minister of Economy, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy of Finland, and Mr Charles Hendry, member of the House of Commons of the British Parliament, UK Prime Minister’s Special Trade Envoy to Kazakhstan. The forum was also attended by business delegations from Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Finland and China.
Mr. Aset Isekeshev, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Industry and New Technologies of the Republic of Kazakhstan took part in the closing session of the Forum. In a special message issued on behalf of the Ministry, Mr. Issekeshev announced that in May 2013 the Ministry will begin registering applications for the new subsoil use licences. This important announcement was greatly anticipated by the investors since the President Nazarbaev ordered earlier this year to lift the 4-year ban on issuance of new mining licenses.
Speaking about the developments in the geological sphere, Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that the Ministry will be focusing on five key aspects: improvement of the investment climate; development of human resources; development of geological infrastructure; implementation of international standards for reporting reserves and resources and will increase public and quasi-public funding of the exploration and mining sectors which will be initially conducted via Joint Ventures and Private Public Partnerships.
The Forum’s Technical Committee produced a Memorandum which includes a number of recommendations and suggestions to Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Central Asian states urging them to take more active steps to accelerate geological activity and improve investment attractiveness in the mining sector. Memorandum is published on the Forum’s website: http://MINEXasia.com/2013
MINEX Central Asia 2013 – figures, facts and recommendations
Organised for the 4th time in Astana MINEX Central Asia Mining and Exploration Forum once again confirmed its status as the largest and most significant international industry event organised to promote multidisciplinary and multilateral discussions of prospects for transition to an innovative mining and mineral exploration in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. The Forum facilitated the exchange of information and better understanding of the business processes in the Central Asian mining industry and gave a powerful impetus to the development of international partnerships, expanding business relationships and attracting new investment.
The Forum brought together more than 500 professionals from 15 countries. Over a third of them came from overseas creating a diversified geographical representation at the Forum from the neighbouring countries such as Russia, Kyrgyzstan and China as well as from the remote states such as Australia and Canada. 30 companies from Kazakhstan, Russia, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany and China exhibited projects and innovative technologies at the exhibition organised alongside the Forum.
The Forum provided a platform for holding diversified business meetings, signing of agreements and organisation of the presentations of the cutting edge prospecting and mining technologies, raising funds for new mining projects, creating international partnerships and innovation centres, and much more. The Forum traditionally offered platform for holding bilateral and multilateral meetings between representatives of the foreign states and investors.
Over 80 presentations and reports were made during the plenary, technical and business sessions organised at the Forum and the Master classes.
Most of the Forum’s participants acknowledged that Governments of Kazakhstan and other Central Asian states are working hard to create a better environment in order to stimulate mineral exploration and implement more efficient methods for reproduction and regeneration of the mineral resources. Practical steps are also being taken to implement enhanced control of the rational and integrated use of mineral resources. Great importance is given to the introduction of the innovative and more efficient technologies for geological exploration, mining and mineral processing with the emphasis on the implementation of automated management processes, systematisation of the geological data banks and development of infrastructure. Mining companies are quickly adapting to the current market conditions and implementing training and retraining programs for their personnel.
The Forum acknowledged that the mining industry plays an important role in sustaining further economic development of the of Central Asian countries providing a backbone for developing infrastructure, creating new skilled jobs and bringing substantial income from the foreign trade and capital investment. Adapting to the present economic challenges mining industry is actively introducing innovative technologies to reduce production costs, improve efficiency, and to successfully develop mining projects that have previously been considered economically unprofitable. Supported by the global rise in commodity prices and demand for iron ore and metals, mining sector is becoming increasingly attractive to international investors who are seeking opportunities for long-term and profitable investments in the region.
Summing up the results of these discussions, the Forum acknowledged that:
- the government of Kazakhstan has set out its intention to make changes to legislation to encourage investment and development of the Kazakhstan’s mining industry;
- the government’s perception of the pace of changes is at odds with those of the mining companies and the investment community, who urgently need to see a faster change. The situation is further worsened by the reduced availability of investment due to the weakening of the global economy;
- shortage of human capital remains a high risk for the future of the mining sector, however bold initiatives such as the creation of the School of Mines at the Nazarbayev University and the Geological Centre in Astana are encouraging to see;
- while the government has an intention to lift the Moratorium on the exploration licenses, the legislation still hasn’t been enacted;
- the lack of access to existing quality geological data is still the main barrier to exploration investment.
The Forum issued the following statements and recommendations:
- Forum participants were encouraged to share their ideas on positive changes in the mining legislation with the MINEX Forum organising committee which will submit them to the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies and to the Mining Associations;
- better elaboration of ways to access historical and modern geological information is needed once the Licensing Moratorium is lifted, the licensing process should be streamlined, simplified and organised in accordance with the best international standards;
- greater openness and better access to existing quality geological data needs to be created. This is an essential step to attracting investment;
- to accelerate training and re-training of personnel for mining companies and to fund specific training programs in accordance with the industry requirements, MINEX Forum is inviting mining and metals companies to set up a voluntary public educational foundation. The foundation will be governed by the member companies and will be funding its activities by claiming from the Government a percentage of the “Educational Tax” presently levied from companies. Companies interested in this proposal are kindly invited to contact MINEX Forum organising committee;
- the organising Committee of the MINEX Forum will be delighted to assist the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies with the promotion and organisation of the public auction and with the facilitation of the investor meetings;
- participants of the Forum are grateful to the government of Kazakhstan for its continuous support of this event and look forward to see more progress in the development of mining in Central Asia at next year’s MINEX Central Asia Forum.
Gala dinner was traditionally organised at the end of the Forum and it hosted for the second year presentation of the amateur photography Award “Geologist. Miner. Metallurgist”.
Gratitude and acknowledgement
The Forum Organising Committee would like to express sincere gratitude to the Official Partner – the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan for active support during the preparation of the Forum and the meetings organised alongside.
We would like to thank the following companies for their sponsorship support of the Forum this year
- Lead sponsor – ENRC
- Platinum sponsor – Rio Tinto
- Gold sponsors – Polymetal International, Kazakhmys Plc, SRK Consulting, Wardell Armstrong International and Kazax Minerals
- Silver sponsors – IMC Montan, Hatch and VNIPIpromtechnologii
- Bronze sponsor – Dow Water & Process Solutions
- Sponsors of the Master Classes – RJC, SRK Consulting, IMC Montan and Sandvik Mining
- Delegate bag sponsor – American Appraisal
- Sponsors of the photo competition “Miner. Prospector. Metallurgist” – Squadra Forte and ENRC