Roundtable in Astana focuses on geological exploration and investor attraction

Roundtable in Astana focuses on geological exploration and investor attraction

Kazakhstan is set to actively attract both domestic and foreign investors to geological exploration to elevate the industry to a new level. Investments are necessary for the exploration of new oil fields and the development of rare earth metals, which President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called “new oil” in his state-of-the-nation address in September 2023. He then instructed the government to expand the area of geologically surveyed land to 2.2 million square kilometers by 2026. Experts, representatives of major industry companies, members of Parliament and the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs, as well as investors themselves, gathered in Astana for a roundtable discussion on the necessary concrete steps and guarantees currently needed for potential investors. Meeting participants underscored the importance of subsurface resources exploration for hydrocarbon raw materials, which requires significant private investments. Nevertheless, it is essential to protect investors’ interests and rights. Experts note that legislatively establishing priority rights for subsoil users to explore and extract raw materials within licensed areas would significantly boost their involvement and enhance the country’s geological knowledge.

“As of today, we have around 88,000 tonnes of lithium, and about 17 types of rare earth metals, three of which are already available to a wide range of subsoil users. We have over 14 export-oriented metals such as uranium, oil, gas, iron, bauxite, aluminum, and others at already discovered deposits and those under development. The budget’s primary source is the oil and gas sector. The mining sector is also a significant player since the range of metals is much wider, but understanding of how to progress depends on thorough examination of mineral resource availability and the requisite technologies for commercialization,” said Anvar Boranbayev, the independent expert at the Kazakh State Commission for Mineral Reserves.