Kazakhstan has large lithium reserves

At today’s meeting in Zhetysu region the Head of State said that Kazakhstan has large lithium reserves by various estimates ranging from 50 to 100,000 tons, the Telegram Channel of the President’s press service reports.

The country’s geological service should speed up its activities in this direction as development and exploration require large investments.

The region has good industrial growth dynamics. Since the start of the year 23 facilities were put into service. The President highlighted modernization and launch of the high-quality silicon production plant Kazsilicon which stood idle for a few years and construction of the plant for the direct reduction of iron. Both plants are of great importance for Kazakhstan and are called to develop and spread advanced mining industry technologies.

Notably, the region built an investment portfolio until 2026 including 162 projects. As a result more than 7,000 jobs will be generated there, Inform writes.

CAML announced that its Kounrad copper recovery plant in Kazakhstan produced 4,146 tonnes of copper in Q3 2021

Central Asia Metals (AIM: CAML) today announced that its Kounrad copper recovery plant in Kazakhstan produced 4,146 tonnes of copper in Q3 2021, which brings output for the first nine months of 2021 to 10,360 tonnes.

The company added that at its Sasa zinc-lead mine in North Macedonia, mined and processed ore in Q3 2021 were 200,820 tonnes and 203,043 tonnes respectively, bringing the total for the first nine months of 2021 to 614,807 tonnes of ore mined and 626,906 tonnes of ore processed.

The average head grades for the quarter were 3.30% zinc and 3.64% lead, and for the first nine months of the year were 3.19% and 3.54% respectively. The average metallurgical recoveries marginally increased during the period to 85.1% for zinc and 93.4% for lead.

Accordingly, the company noted that its Q3 2021 payable production of zinc was 4,827 tonnes and of lead was 6,580 tonnes, bringing total payable production for the nine-month period to 14,313 tonnes of zinc and 19,697 tonnes of lead.

The company also reported that during the first nine months of 2021, Sasa sold 238,535 ounces of payable silver to Osisko Gold Royalties, in accordance with its streaming agreement.

CEO Nigel Robinson commented, “I am pleased to report strong production from both of our operations during Q3 2021. At Kounrad, we remain on track to meet the top end of our production guidance, and at Sasa, we have reported improved zinc and lead grades for the period, which have resulted in higher metal production than the previous quarter. We expect this trend to continue into Q4, although 2021 production for lead may be in the order of 5% below our guidance”.

Central Asia Metals, an AIM-listed UK company based in London, owns 100% of the Kounrad SX-EW copper project in central Kazakhstan and 100% of the Sasa zinc-lead mine in North Macedonia.

CAML is exploring avenues to reduce emissions at its mines in North Macedonia and Kazakhstan

London-listed Central Asia Metals (CAML) is exploring avenues to reduce emissions at its mines in North Macedonia and Kazakhstan, as the company continues working towards developing a climate change strategy.

CAML, which on Wednesday announced interim results, said that it had negotiated to acquire renewable power from its North Macedonian power provider, EVN, for its Sasa operations.

These power purchases, which would be audited subsequently, should lead to CAML being able to claim about a 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across the group.

At Kounrad, in Kazakhstan, the company last year completed a solar plant scoping study.

“We are currently in the process of upgrading this [the scoping study] to a full feasibility study, which will offer a clearer view on the most effective way of reducing our GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions at the project”, said CEO Nigel Robinson.

Meanwhile, CAML reported a sharp increase in net revenue to $100.8-million in the first half of the year, compared with $70.8-million in the comparative period, bolstered by strong commodity prices.

Group earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation increased to $64.4-million, from $42.5-million.

The positive performance over the last six months resulted in CAML declaring a dividend of 8p a share.

“This dividend, and a $10-million in accelerated debt repayments, which takes us closer to the debt free milestone, demonstrates our continued focus on delivering value for our shareholders, as well as our wider stakeholders,” noted Robinson.

CAML is on course to achieve the upper-end of the 2021 Kounrad production guidance and the lower-end of the Sasa production guidance.

Source: miningweekly.com

IG Copper and Gold enters Kazakhstan’s mining industry

In order to enter the mineral-rich country of Kazakhstan, IG Global Group (IGG) has established a wholly owned subsidiary, IG Copper and Gold. The firm said it sees huge potential in the country’s mining sector, both in terms of magnitude and scale of projects.

IGG president and CEO Thomas Bowens said: “We are very excited to have established IG Copper and Gold and our first corporate offices in Kazakhstan. IGG will initially be targeting high-value gold and porphyry copper-gold assets for exploration and development.

“This marks our entry into the third country following on from our highly successful operations in both Russia and the United States.”

Upon becoming a member of the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Standards in 2016, Kazakhstan implemented simplified mineral licensing in 2017 to ensure open access to geological data and its digitisation.

The country also simplified the procedure of providing potential companies with subsoil use rights. Some of the country’s mining projects currently under development include the Aktogay open-pit mine in the East Kazakhstan Region, the Bozshakol copper mine in the Pavlodar Region, and the Koksay copper mine in the southeastern part of the country.

In a press statement, IGG said: “IGG’s team and experience in the Russian Far East and Asia is a strategic advantage in its ability to operate in this region.”

Following a modern framework for investment in its mining sector, Kazakhstan is said to hold diverse geological composition such as gold, copper, and chrome iron ore deposits, as well as polymetallic deposits, tungsten, molybdenum and uranium ores.

Source: mining-technology.com

 

 

KAZ Minerals’ Aktogay copper mine expansion in Kazakhstan

Aktogay is a large scale, open pit mine with a remaining mine life of around 25 years (including the expansion project) at an average copper grade of 0.27% (oxide) and 0.33% (sulphide). Aktogay is forecast to produce about 100,000 t of copper from sulphide ore this year, increasing to over 170,000 t per year from 2022 to 2027 after the second concentrator commences operations. In more detail, the low risk expansion project will double sulphide ore capacity from 25 Mt to 50 Mt/y. It adds about 80,000 t of annual copper production from 2022-27 and about 60,000 t/y from 2028 onwards. It is on track for completion in 2021 as previously guided, with first production expected in late 2021.

In its full year 2020 results announced recently, KAZ Minerals says construction works at the Aktogay copper mine expansion project in Kazakhstan were affected by reduced staff availability in the first half of 2020, however, works progressed according to plan in the second half of the year as COVID-19 related restrictions were eased and the group’s testing and isolation measuresenabled shift changes to take place safely.

Looking at the Aktogay 2 plant equipment installation progress, construction of the primary gyratory crusher and conveyor, ore stockpile reclaim system, SAG and ball mills (with gearless drives) and flotation sections of the concentrator (Wemco cells) is complete and the focus is now on equipment installations, electrical and pipeline connections and testing. The new electrical supply for the second concentrator has been completed and energised. Construction work is continuing on the tailings thickeners and pump house, pebble crusher, HPGR and bagging plant. The new camp facilities are 75% complete.

Most of this equpiment has been supplied by FLSmidth, part of an >$100 million order first announced in February 2018. In addition to the mentioned equipment it included primary and regrind cyclones, belt feeders, a lime slaking plant, screens, and concentrate thickeners. thyssenkrupp supplied the HPGR, which is a 1,061 t/h POLYCOM 2 x 1,750 kW model similar to those delivered for Aktogay 1 in 2017 and Bozshakol in 2016. Prior to this expansion, FLSmidth has previously delivered three complete copper concentrators to KAZ Minerals; one in Aktogay in 2015 and two in Bozshakol, also in Kazakhstan, in 2014.

Source: im-mining.com

 

Multi-metal mining opportunities of Central Asia

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, only a few dozen mines continue to be developed in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, etc). These countries may provide good opportunities for growth for global mining companies in years to come, due to their rich minerals base and the liberalization of national legislation for mining that have been initiated by local governments in recent years. With a population of about 72 million, the region stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east and is characterized by large subsoil resources.

So far, the interest of Western mining companies in this region has been relatively low, which resulted in the almost complete dominance of the Chinese. Since the collapse of the USSR, the Chinese government, together with some of the country’s largest state-affiliated mining companies, have established good relations with the governments of almost every country in the region, providing them relatively cheap loans in exchange of an access to local mineral reserves. Still, the beginning of the pandemic and stagnation of the Chinese economy has led to a significant decline in Chinese investments in the Central Asia mining sector, forcing the regional authorities to consider some alternative investment options.

For example, the government of Kazakhstan, the most economically developed state, is ready to attract investors to participate in the development of the country’s rich uranium fields. At present, Kazakhstan already has a status of one of the world’s leading uranium producers, with the annual volume of production of 18,000-20,000 tonnes per year. As part of the plans of Kazakh government, the attraction of additional investments will allow to start more active development of some of the country’s major uranium fields, particularly the Central Mynkuduk and Zhalpak in the Turkestan region of the country. Kazakhstan holds vast mineral reserves which are largely undeveloped. The country has 30% of the world’s chrome ore reserves, 2% of manganese ore, 10% of iron ore, 5.5% of copper, 10% of lead and 13% of zinc, according to official estimates.

Uranium One Inc., an indirect subsidiary of the Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom, is directly owned by the Amsterdam-based Uranium One Holding N.V. (89.07%) and Moscow-based Uranium One Group 10.93%. Uranium One is a joint venture partner with JSC NAC Kazatomprom, the Kazakhstan state-owned atomic energy company, in six major producing uranium mines in Kazakhstan – Akdala, South Inkai, Karatau, Akbastau, Zarechnoye and Kharasan.

In the meantime, in Uzbekistan, another major country in the region, the biggest hopes of its government are placed on further development of its gold mining sector. In recent years, Uzbek gold mining has faced an acute shortage of investment, which has resulted in stagnation of the entire gold mining sector of the country. In terms of gold reserves, Uzbekistan currently ranks as the world’s fourth in output with annual production of about 90 tonnes of gold. Most Uzbek mining analysts believe the country has big gold mining potential; however, much will depend on the ability of the state to attract investments in the industry. As in the past, the Muruntau mine – one of the largest gold mines in Uzbekistan and the world, with estimated reserves of 71.4 million oz of gold – will probably remain the most attractive gold mining asset of Uzbekistan for years to come.

In the meantime, in neighboring Tajikistan, the biggest hopes of the local state are related with the development of Bolshoi Konimansur, one of the world’s largest silver deposits, located in the Sughd region of the country (Northern Tajikistan). Total silver reserves at the Bolshoi Konimansur exceed 70,000 tons. According to preliminary estimates, investment in its development is estimated at US$3 billion.

Finally, in Kyrgyzstan, the fourth largest country of the region, most analysts consider the country as one of the potentially largest producers of rare earth elements in the entire region. As Omurkul Kabaev, a former Director of the Institute of Mineral Resources of the Kyrgyz Republic said in an interview with the Kyrgyz Azattyk business paper that the country’s mineral reserves contain over 20 different REEs and rare metals. According to him, most of these metals are located at the Kuttesaya mine. In the meantime, in addition to REEs, the mineral base of the country consists of some other strategically important metals, among which are antimony, tungsten, molybdenum, copper and some others. Overall, according to estimates of Kabaev, there are more than 16,000 mines and deposits in Kyrgyzstan, which makes the country one of the most geologically promising mining destinations in the entire Asian region. However, the situation in Kyrgyzstan has dramatically changed recently. On Friday January 29, 2021, Kyrgyzstan banned foreign companies from developing large mining projects; however, existing licenses are unaffected. This was the first major order by new Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov. He was inaugurated on Thursday and the next day signed the order which only allows the development of “subsoil areas of national importance” by a state-owned company. Kyrgyzstan relies heavily on gold mining,

Source: resourceworld.com

 

 

Kazatomprom had to quarantine two mines due to virus emergency

Due to a COVID-19 emergency, the world’s largest uranium producer Kazatomprom had to put two mines in quarantine. The company announced that several positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified at the company’s Kazakh-French joint venture KATCO, operating in the Turkestan region of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Kazatoprom said that despite the safety measures and protocols that are in place, several KATCO employees who had tested negative when arriving at the site at the end of December, began to show symptoms of COVID-19 while working at the facility and staying in the Moinkum camp. The operation’s senior management promptly moved to conduct PCR testing of all KATCO employees and contractors, which resulted in the identification of additional positive cases.

Based on recommendations of local medical authorities, and in light of positive cases among site personnel that had previously tested negative, testing of all employees and contractors at Tortkuduk camp was carried. Final test results from both camps are still pending. Affected personnel have been isolated. According to the protocol of Chief state sanitary doctor of Suzak area, Turkestan region, both facilities have been placed under quarantine to await final results prior to a shift change. KATCO does not expect the site quarantine to have an impact on drilling or planned 2021 production.

Kazatomprom is the world’s largest producer of uranium, with the company’s attributable production representing approximately 24% of global primary uranium production in 2019. The group benefits from the largest reserve base in the industry and operates, through its subsidiaries, JVs and Associates, 26 deposits grouped into 14 mining assets. All of the company’s mining operations are located in Kazakhstan and mined using ISR technology.

Source: kitco.com

 

 

Kazatomprom resumes mining operations in Kazakhstan

Any new pandemic or weather-related issues at world’s largest uranium producer Kazatomprom’s operations are not expected to influence 2020 production volumes, the company said in its quarterly update. It could, however, affect reserve development and production plans for 2021, the uranium producer noted. Kazatomprom has resumed activities at all of its mining operations in Kazakhstan, progressing according to its plans after a four-month coronavirus-driven shutdown, FNArena has reported.

The company announced in early April that its facilities in Kazakhstan would gradually phase to overall reduced capacity, leading to production cuts by about 17.5% in 2020. The statement was made following a state of emergency declared in Kazakhstan due to the coronavirus outbreak. The company originally expected production output to reach around 22,800 tonnes in 2020 before the announcement of the lockdowns and quarantine restrictions. Last week, Kazatomprom reported gross output in the third quarter at 4,660 tonnes, down from the 6,080 tonnes recorded in the same period of last year. The firm’s production guidance for 2021 stands unchanged. Well field development drilling and associated work on bringing new well fields on line began to ramp up in August, the report said, citing industry consultant TradeTech.

VTB Capital Research, the analytical arm of the Russian investment bank VTB, said last week that the company results were 4% above its estimates. VTB analysts believed Kazatomprom was on track to achieve the upper level of its revised 2020 production guidance (19,000-19,500 tonnes).

“The company positively surprised VTB on sales volumes, as both consolidated sales and attributable sales exceeded our expectations by 70%, more than doubling QoQ and YoY,” VTB added in the note. “On our calculations, the large sales print on the back of reduced production suggests an inventory decrease of some 2ktU at KAP in 3Q20, implying an inventory balance of some 6.9ktU at the end of 3Q20, the lowest since 2016.

“The company nevertheless reiterated its 2020 guidance at 15.5-16.5ktU consolidated and 13.5-14.5ktU own sales. We think the surge in sales in 3Q20 reflects delayed demand from 1H20, which might help it to be on track to meet the upper bound of its sales guidance.”

VTB said that the reported results were supportive of third quarter earnings due to be announced on November 27.

Source: intellinews.com

 

 

KAZ Minerals’ issues around Baimskaya copper project because of new Russian infrastructure plan

The Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East & Arctic recently approved a multi-party complex development plan for new infrastructure in the region. The plan was submitted by the ministry on Novemebr 18 for approval by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

Kazakh copper miner KAZ Minerals on November 18 said risks around its Baimskaya copper project in Russia’s Chukotka Region have risen due to new infrastructure plans for the region passed by the Russian government. KAZ Minerals is currently discussing the provision of transport and power infrastructure in the Chukotka Region with the Russian government – the company may be liable to pay for the costs.

“Under the CDP, KAZ Minerals will now take responsibility for a portion of the infrastructure capital costs. Together with a revised cost for the tailings storage facility and the impact of an approximate one year delay to the project schedule, the capital construction budget for the Baimskaya project is now estimated to be close to $8bn,” KAZ Minerals said.

Due to changes in the infrastructure plan, KAZ Minerals said its Baimskaya project’s bankable feasibility study is set to be delayed until the first half of 2021.

“The complex development plan for Chukotka submitted today within the Russian government has resulted in higher infrastructure costs and a delay to the bankable feasibility study,” senior independent director Michael Lunch-Bell said.

The Baimskaya project is now seen as commencing production by end-2027 and has an annual ore processing capacity of 70mn tonnes per annum.

KAZ Minerals and its subsidiaries engage in mining and processing copper and other metals in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The company operates the Aktogay and Bozshakol open pit copper mines in Kazakhstan along with three underground mines. It is also developing the Bozymchak copper-gold mine in Kyrgyzstan.  KAZ Minerals’ fifth biggest investor RWC Partners, which holds just under 3.3% of the company’s shares and CFC Management – a Russia-based investment advisor that represents Maxim Vorobyev and other minority shareholders that jointly control approximately 3.6% of the firm’s shares – have both said they intend to vote against against a £3bn all-cash buyout offer to take the Kazakh copper miner private. The offer is connected to the Baimskaya copper mine bought by KAZ Minerals in 2018, as it “would be best undertaken away from public markets as a private company”, according to the miner.

Source: intellinews.com

 

 

Uranium production cut to be extended in Kazakhstan

In early April, Kazakhstan’s national operator for the import and export of uranium, Kazatomprom announced that its facilities across Kazakhstan would be working at reduced capacity within three months which was expected to cause production cuts by about 17.5 percent in 2020. The statement was made in the wake of a state of emergency declared in Kazakhstan due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Before the lockdown, the company was expecting the production output to reach about 22,800 tons in 2020. Kazatomprom has announced the company’s intent to extend production cut by 20 percent through 2022 in an effort to balance the global uranium market.

“We are simply not seeing the market signals and fundamental support needed to ramp up mine development in 2021 and take our low-cost, tier one production centers back to full capacity in 2022.”

The new regulations are expected to remove up to 5,500 tons of uranium from the anticipated global primary supply in 2022, with uranium production in Kazakhstan staying similar to the level expected in 2021 and ranging between 22,000 and 22,500 tons, according to the statement.

The country of almost 19 million people, Kazakhstan has reported more than 103,000 cases of infections with the fatality rate standing at 1,415 as of August 20. Harsh restrictions introduced by the country’s government to contain the spread of the deadly virus halted most economic activities, causing many people to lose their jobs. A range of companies has announced a temporary halt on production in their local manufacturing facilities until further notice. Officials in Kazatomprom are convinced that uranium prices and long-term contracting activity will remain unsustainably low due to the market uncertainty attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has not taken any decision regarding mine development activity beyond 2022 as it continues to monitor market conditions.

Kazakhstan is the world’s largest producer of uranium, with 60 years of experience in nuclear fuel supply. The Central Asian country possesses about 12 percent of the world’s recoverable uranium. There are about 50 known deposits and 22 uranium mines in Kazakhstan operated by state-owned Kazatomprom and through joint ventures. The country is also home to a low-enriched uranium (LEU) bank, the world’s largest reserve of its kind that can store up to 90 metric tons of uranium suitable for making fuel to feed a light-water nuclear reactor.

Kazatomprom’s attributable production represented approximately 24 percent of global primary uranium production as of 2019. All of the company’s mining operations are located in Kazakhstan.

Earlier this year, the company announced the deal with a Buenos Aires-based mining corporation Dioxitek, according to which Kazakhstan will cover the South American country’s short supply for its nuclear reactors.

Source: caspiannews.com