Canadian companies are interested in the investment potential of the energy, mining and metallurgy sectors of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan and Canada discussed investment cooperation opportunities in natural resources and energy at the virtual Working Group meeting of the IV Kazakhstan Canada Business Council on November 16, 2020. During the event, the participants learnt about the latest updates on these industries' investment potential and specific investment projects for joint implementation. More than 100 participants attended the event, including high-level government representatives, national companies and members of the business community.
During the event, Norman Storm, the Board Chair of the Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association (CERBA) and the Co-Chair of the Working Group meeting noted: "Covid-19 has had a major effect on all of the world's economies, and Kazakhstan and Canada are no exception. However, difficult economic times can also present opportunities to acquire projects that would otherwise not be available. I think it is safe to say that the governments of both Kazakhstan and Canada are open for business and ready to welcome new investments in the energy and natural resource sectors of their economies".
In turn, Zhandos Temirgali, the Advisor to the Chairman on Strategic Investment Projects at KAZAKH INVEST and the Co-Chair of the Working Group meeting from the Kazakhstan side, underlined that bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and Canada have always been warm and productive. Mr. Temirgali further stated that “Today, Kazakhstan is Canada's largest trade and investment partner in Central Asia. Over the past 15 years, direct foreign investments from Canada to Kazakhstan have exceeded $5 billion. In addition, Kazakhstan is one of the priority markets for Canadian companies, with a wide range of opportunities, as per Canada's Global Markets Action Plan. We consider such sectors as Oil & Gas and Mining, together with Agriculture and Mechanical engineering as the core pillars of our cooperation that have enormous potential. In addition, renewable energy has enormous potential, as well as the creation of high-tech industries in Kazakhstan based on rich reserves of strategic materials. In all of the above industries, we are ready to provide comprehensive support to Canadian investors. In addition, renewable energy as well as the creation of high-tech industries in Kazakhstan based on rich reserves of strategic materials have enormous potential. In all of the above industries, we are ready to provide comprehensive support to Canadian investors”, - said Zhandos Temirgali.
According to the Vice Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Serikkali Brekeshev, the Ministry is currently developing a “State Program for Geological Exploration in the Republic of Kazakhstan”, for the period 2021- 2025. The Program's primary goal is to create the right conditions to ensure the competitiveness of Kazakhstan’s mineral resource base and, at the same time, ensure its sustainability and development by increasing the country’s geological assessment of its the under-explored territories. The expected improvements brought about by this Program will significantly expand the investment attractiveness of the mineral resource base and contribute to the development of the sector by junior mining companies.
In his welcoming speech, Ruslan Baimishev, the Vice Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan, also mentioned that Kazakhstan, acting on recommendations from the OECD, proactively introduced a new Code on Subsoil and Subsoil Use in 2018. This new legislation embodies best international practices to ensure transparent and understandable methods of State regulation of the industry. The Vice Minister reiterated "We are ready to jointly start implementing high-tech projects using the experience and technologies of Canada."
During discussions on cooperation in the energy sector, the Director General of KazEnergy Association, Bolat Akchulakov, mentioned several success stories associated with foreign companies operating in Kazakhstan. In particular, the Canadian company, Cameco Corporation, has made large investments in Kazakhstan's uranium industry, including developing the Inkai Joint Venture in cooperation with NAC Kazatomprom JSC.
Additional speakers from the Kazakhstan side included: the Chairman of the Board of «Qazgeology», Anvar Boranbayev; the Chairman of the Board of Tau-Ken Samruk JSC NMC, Kanat Kudaibergen; the Head of Sustainable Development at UNDP, Arman Kashkinbekov; the Executive Director of the Republican Association of Mining and Metallurgical Enterprises, Nikolay Radostovets; the President of Kazakhstan Society of Petroleum Geologists, Baltabek Kuandykov, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Energy, KEGOC, Financial Settlement Center of Renewable Energy LLP and KAZAKH INVEST.
The Canadian side was represented by industry keynote speakers: Dmitry Barsukov, the General Director of Cameco Kazakhstan and Andrew Judson, the Lead Director of Condor Petroleum Inc. Keynote speakers representing the government included: Emily Kneteman, the Regional Director of Invest Canada, representing the Government of Canada; Mario Krpan from the Ministry of Energy and Clean Technology of the Government of Alberta, as well as Eyad Qudsi and Lora Field from the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade of the Government of Ontario.
As a result of the Working Group, the delegates expressed their intention to intensify their efforts to broaden and deepen cooperation on bilateral trade and investment in the energy and natural resource sectors. Given the significance of these sectors to the economies of both countries, definite synergies can be created through the sharing of technology, expertise and experiences to further develop the sector and promote trade and investment between Kazakhstan and Canada.
For Reference: The creation of the Kazakhstan Canada Business Council (KCBC) has been one of the key measures to promote bilateral business ties between Canada and Kazakhstan. The main goal of the KCBC is to promote cooperation, trade and investment between the companies and organizations of Kazakhstan and Canada. The KCBC is comprised of Canadian and Kazakh businesses that meet once every 2 years (alternating between Kazakhstan and Canada) to address issues pertinent to cooperation and bilateral trade between the two countries. The KCBC is jointly organized by the Canada Eurasia Russian Business Association (CERBA) and the Kazakhstan International Chamber of Commerce and is supported by the governments of both countries and provides an important platform to promote a stronger and more multi-faceted relationship between Canada and Kazakhstan.