Page 13 - GlobalEyes Edition 1 Feb 2011

Basic HTML Version

The timing for
our visit was
opportune,
with demand
for mining
commodities at
a new high.
Kazakhstan lies just to the
north of the Himalayas.
With Russia to its north, the
Caspian Sea to the west,
and Mongolia due east,
Kazakhstan is truly a gateway
between Europe and Asia.
of the population thanks to
Stalinist social experiments of
the past. At the end of WWII
more than 2 million German
prisoners of war were interned
in prison camps in Kazakhstan.
Eventually the POWs were
freed, but they weren’t allowed
to repatriate to a divided
Germany so had to make new
lives for themselves within
their accidentally adopted
country. A generation later,
Gorbachev’s Perestroika led to
the collapse of the Berlin Wall
and many German Kazakhs
took their new-found freedom
and returned to the fatherland.
The mining trade Mission to
Kazakhstan was Austrade’s
first venture into the country.
Kazakhstan is a mineral-rich
country, second only to
Russia in mining riches in
the Eurasian region.
During the week we met
with representatives from
all the major mining houses
and toured an underground
copper mine in Karaganda.
Our hosts were universally
welcoming and very keen to lay
on banquets at every opportunity,
so we managed to sample most
of the local culinary “delicacies’,
usually some sort of meat,
including horse for the more
adventurous amongst us.
All of it washed down with ample
supply of Russia’s finest vodka.
The miners were genuinely
interested in what we could offer
in terms of mining technology and
know-how. From what we could
see, many of the mining operations
still use outdated equipment and
there is quite a gap between
what they use now and what
consumable products Bradken
could offer them. The Government
strongly backs the growth of the
mining industry and is seeking
partners to bring new technologies
to the domestic operations.
The main thrust is to bring this
about in the form of partnerships
and joint ventures with foreign
equipment suppliers. Given the
vastly different nature of our two
cultures, the language barriers,
and the politico-legal framework
of Kazakhstan, future investment
of Bradken into the region will be
challenging to say the least.
Nevertheless, Kazakhstan is a
country of great mineral wealth
and vast untapped mining
potential. Therefore it is probably
not a matter of “if” but “when” we
look to Kazakhstan as our next
frontier of development.
13
new markets
globaleyes / edition 1
The people of Kazakhstan
reflect this melting pot of
cultures. Western and Slavic
peoples intermix with the
native Kazakhs, who look more
Asiatic than Russian. Germans
and Korean descendants also
make up a significant part
Fraser Batts