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Astana, July 8: Kazakhstan’s capital brought together representatives of mining and metallurgy industry from around the world for the Second International Congress called Astana Mining & Metallurgy (AMM-2011) on July 4-6. 

The Congress included numerous events and resulted in new proposals on the development of Kazakhstan’s mining and metallurgy complex (MMC), important international inter-company agreements and memorandums.

More than 1,360 participants from 25 countries participated in the Congress, which was dedicated to the celebration of three significant events in the country: Kazakhstan’s 20th anniversary of independence, Astana Day, and the professional holiday “Metallurgist Day,” the organisers of the forum said.

The two-day forum consisted of the plenary conference and three sessions. An Industrial exhibition was held in parallel to the main events as well, where the attendees of the Congress were able to learn about the “golden,” “innovative,” “educational,” and “service” potential of the leading MMC companies. A total of 85 companies from 10 countries presented their work at the exhibition.

Prime Minister Karim Massimov read out a welcoming address from Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

“All these years, the steel industry has been one of the key sectors of the Kazakhstan economy, demonstrating high dynamics of development. Currently it accounts for more than seven percent of GDP, about 17 percent of the total industrial production, and 20 percent of exports,” the President said. Today, the steel makers are facing new challenges, he said adding that the State Programme of Accelerated Industrial and Innovative Development, which is now being implemented in Kazakhstan, was designed to overcome these challenges and strengthen the industry. “In the 21st century, our country will strengthen its position as one of the world’s leading iron and steel centres,” Nazarbayev said.  

To this end, the Kazakh Government has adopted and begun implementing an Industrial programme for the development of mining and metallurgy complex until 2014, Massimov said at the opening. “We clearly understand that the new investment in the MMC is a high-risk, capital-intensive, and long-term endeavour, but we must and we will work to increase its competitiveness,” Massimov stressed.  

At the plenary conference, Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund Aidan Karibzhanov said Kazakhstan intends to create a series of joint ventures with the world’s leading companies in mining and metallurgy. “We understand that without international companies we cannot do anything, since cooperation means new technologies for extracting and refining, which we need.”

In his turn, Ambassador, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan Norbert Jousten said the EU is considering a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Kazakhstan that attaches considerable importance to cooperation in mining and metallurgical sector. The emphasis is put on issues of safe disposal of raw materials, the use of energy-efficient technologies, and non-discriminatory access to EU markets for Kazakhstan’s raw materials, Jousten said.  

The first day of the AMM-2011 also included discussions on topics such as “Prospects for consolidating the world’s mining and metallurgy sector,” “State regulation of mining and metallurgy industry: effective approaches and best practices,” “Innovation and scientific research as the way to solve complex problems in the MMC,” “Restoring activities of markets of metal and capital.”

As a result of the Congress, Kazakhstan’s National Mining Company Tau-Ken Samruk and Slovakia’s Radington Industrial Consulting s.r.o signed an agreement on cooperation principles for a joint project on the development of lead ore deposits in the Karaganda region.  

An awards ceremony for the winners of the national industry contest “Golden Hephaestus 2011” closed the first day of the congress. The best professionals and companies in the field were determined according to 10 general and one specific nominations.  

A number of round table discussions were held during the next day. One of them, entitled “Consolidation. Partnership. Development,” was organised for the international industrial associations. Opening it, Kazakhstan’s Vice-Minister of Industry and New Technologies Albert Rau said business associations perform qualified expertise of draft laws and regulation, without which no law concerning entrepreneurship can be adopted.

At present, the Ministry has about 19 accredited industrial associations. Last year, for the first time, the industrial associations received funding from the state in the form of social order to conduct expert evaluation, Rau said. He called on representatives of the Association to also take part in monitoring the process of implementation of the industrialisation programmes. As a result of the round table, the attendees signed a memorandum of cooperation of associations.  

Participants of the other discussion table, entitled “Personnel for MMC,” also completed their work with singing a memorandum on the need to create a Sectoral Council for Human Resources. The Sectoral Council is expected to include representatives of government bodies, educational institutions, and employers. The new structure will offer a systematic approach in solving personnel issues.  

During the discussion, President-Rector of the International Academy of Business in Kazakhstan Assylbek Kozhakhmetov said the country needs to attend to the preparation of managers in order to develop innovation economy. Thus, he proposed the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies to consider a draft project called “10,000 managers for the implementation of Kazakhstan’s Industrial and Innovative Programme.”  

The third round table discussion held the same day was dedicated to innovations in the MMC and concluded with the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between Scientific and Business Associations.  

“PricewaterhouseCoopers” company also organised a master class within the AMM-2011 congress.

Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Japan©2011