Kazakhstan’s major mining group, Kazakhmys, reported an annual rise in the exploration of ore and production of gold, silver and copper in the first 10 months of the year.
Kazakhmys has key assets concentrated in mining and non-ferrous metallurgy. It is the world’s 20th largest producer of copper in concentrate and the 12th largest producer of blister and cathode copper.
The company said it had produced 180,000 tonnes of cathode copper in January-October this year, up from the projected 123,800 tonnes.
“We plan to exceed all projected indicators this year,” Andrey Gaidin, Deputy Chairman of Kazakhmys Board, said.
He said that the key role in achieving this goal was largely played by the price environment for copper on the global market and low reserves of this metal on world markets.
“The main driver of copper demand growth will be the global transition to a green economy, which means a choice in favour of using renewable energy sources and electric vehicles,” Gaidin said.
In May of this year, the maximum price for copper was fixed at $10,724 per metric tonne. The average for 2021 is projected at around $9,200 per tonne.
Experts say that prices against the background of copper deficit will continue to grow further, as today consumption outstrips supply.
In addition, Kazakhmys is actively investing in the modernisation of existing mines and the construction of new ones to boost output. As part of the strategic plan for the next 20 years, which was presented last year, large-scale work is already underway in this direction. The total amount of investments in fixed assets in the period up to 2040 will be about $6.5 billion.
The largest copper producer in Kazakhstan is setting itself an ambitious goal of replenishing the mineral resource base to ensure an annual ore production of 35 million tonnes. For example, at the Hadzhikongan mine, work is underway to perform mining and capital overburden. Ore mining is scheduled for October 2022. The mine is expected to reach its design capacity of 0.9 million tonnes in 2023.
Mining and capital works are underway to excavate workings to open the deposit and at the mine, where ore mining will begin in the fourth quarter of 2022. Reaching the design capacity of 0.6 million tonnes is expected in 2024.
It is planned to modernise the Nurkazgan mine and the existing processing plant within the next five years. In particular, shafts and a new section of the factory will be built here, mining and preparatory work will be carried out on the Eastern section of the mine. In 2027, the mine will reach a production capacity of 6.5 million tonnes.
New deposits will also be put into operation at the Zhylandinsky mine, which will increase the total production volume to 8 million tonnes in 2038.
To process ore, a new processing plant is under construction at the Shatyrkul-Zhaisan cluster in the Balkhash region. The launch is scheduled for 2025, the capacity of the factory will be 1.5 million tonnes.
For the Zhezkazgan region, a feasibility study is being worked out with options for modernising the existing concentration plant or building a new one.
In addition, the company was able to resume the work of the Konyrat mine in the Balkhash region. The mine produces 1.9 million tonnes.
In 2020, Kazakhmys produced 279 tonnes of silver or 51 percent of the metal produced in Central Asia. This helped Kazakhstan to become the 11th producer of silver in the world.