The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on June 12 said it is arranging a US$ 350 million syndicated loan to JSC ShalkiyaZinc Ltd, a Kazakh mining company, for the expansion of the Shalkiya zinc and lead mine in the Kyzylorda region as well as the construction of a new processing plant at the site. The loan is in line with the Bank’s strategy of supporting inclusive economic development in Kazakhstan’s remote regions. The project will support overall economic growth of Kyzylorda region and create more education and career opportunities for women and young people.
The loan agreement was signed by ShalkiyaZinc and the EBRD in Astana at Expo 2017, which focuses on sustainable energy and development.
This project is the first under the EBRD’s new approach to inclusion in the natural resources sector of Kazakhstan. Under the programme, the industry, the EBRD and the authorities will cooperate to ensure that a new generation of Kazakh citizens will obtain the necessary technical skills for success in the sector. The Shalkiya development and other projects to come under this approach will aim to improve technical education related to natural resources. They will also address the problem of legal barriers that prevent women from competing for work on an equal basis in the sector, which often is the main employer in remote areas.
The project will introduce international best practices and address key sustainability issues, supporting the technological development of the Kazakh mining sector and promoting its further transition towards a green economy.
ShalkiyaZinc is currently owned by Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna via the national mining company Tau-Ken Samruk.
The EBRD-supported development project will prepare the mine for a possible privatisation in line with the privatisation initiative launched by the Kazakh government in 2015. The EBRD strongly supports this initiative and has already made a range of investments to this end.
Nandita Parshad, EBRD Managing Director, Energy and Natural Resources, who was present at the signing, said: “This is an excellent example of the continuing fruitful cooperation between Samruk-Kazyna and the EBRD. Joining our efforts and expertise will help to prepare the successful privatisation of ShalkiyaZinc. We look forward to the successful impact of the project on the region, especially the creation of jobs and new opportunities for women in the sector.”
Chairman of the Management Board of Samruk-Kazyna Umirzak Shukeyev added at the signing: “The development of one of the world’s largest lead and zinc deposits, Shalkiya, will significantly contribute to the implementation of the new programme of industrialisation in Kazakhstan. Today the enterprise already provides more than 500 jobs, and when construction of the plants starts the number of jobs created will top 1,500. The EBRD financing significantly increases the attractiveness of ShalkiyaZinc Ltd and Tau-Ken Samruk to investors.”