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Kazakh metal investments needed: minister

Keywords: Tags  Kazakhstan mining, Tuleushin Kanysh, ArcelorMittal, General Electric, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Kazakhstan will need investments of some $15 billion in the mining and metallurgical sector over the next few years to support its rapidly growing oil and gas industry, a top government official told AMM.

"This is starting to attract some big companies," according to Tuleushin Kanysh, Kazakhstan’s vice minister of industry and new technologies.

ArcelorMittal SA, Luxembourg, has said it will invest $328 million in its northeastern Kazakhstan plant in 2012,  including a series of major investments like the construction of a gas cleaning system at the converter shop and refurbishment of the de-dusting system, AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin reported in March.

The plant, which makes long and flat products as well as longitudinal welded tubes for water and gas distribution, is located in the Kazakhstan’s Karaganda region, its metallurgical hub, Kanysh said.

Kazakhstan ranks as the second-largest oil producer among former Soviet nations and has the second-largest recoverable crude oil reserves in the region after Russia, according to the latest country data from the U.S. Energy Information Adminstration.

Metal demand is also rising within the country due to the 2010 establishment of a customs union with Russia and Belarus, Kanysh said. This has stimulated trade and attracted companies like General Electric Co., which operates a railcar manufacturing plant in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital.

Companies are choosing Kazakhstan as their production hub in the region due to its low power costs—the result of an abundance of cheap coal—and the willingness of its government to support new projects through entities like the national export and investment agency Kaznex Invest, Kanysh said, noting that Kazakhstan is looking to complete its accession to the World Trade Organization this year and has applied to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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