Business News in Brief

In Kazakhstan, the prices for industrial products fell 2.3 percent in April, according to Kazakhstan’s Statistics Agency. The prices in the mining industry decreased by 3.2 percent and manufacturing prices fell 0.6 percent. The prices for gas condensate decreased by 4.1 percent, oil by 4 percent, liquefied propane and butane by 3.9 percent, natural gas by 2.3 percent, diesel fuel by 2,2 percent, gasoline by 1.4 percent. The prices for metal ore grew by 7.1 percent, fuel oil increased by 1.4 percent. The prices for lead and zinc decreased by 8.2 percent, raw aluminum decreased by 7.1 percent, copper by 3.5 percent, precious metals by 2.5 percent, ferrous metals 1.2 percent. Ferro-alloys prices were up by 0.9 percent.

Plans for a solar power station were presented on May 1 in the Zhanakorgan region of Kyzylorda oblast, the press-service of the oblast administration said. The power station with an average annual generation capacity of 65 million kWh will become the biggest solar plant in Kazakhstan. The project is estimated at $93.1 million. When the power station reaches its nominal capacity, its personnel will include around 50 people, as all the processes will be automated. The investors (Samruk Kazyna Invest, Odyssey Investment Group and China’s ET Solar Group) will start constructing the station in August this year. According to Kyzylorda oblast Akim (Governor) Krymbek Kusherbayev, the power station will start producing electricity on Dec. 25 and reach its nominal capacity in 2014.

KAZKA, the Kazakhstan Association of Entrepreneurs, and the Trade Development Council of Hong Kong have organised a business forum with businessmen from Hong Kong to Almaty, the association’s press service reported on May 21. Orientation seminars and bilateral meetings with the business communities of both sides were conducted. In particular, the Chinese representatives shared their experience about business opportunities and tools of government support, as well as the tax and legal regimes in Hong Kong. These activities are aimed at establishing and developing trade and economic collaboration between Kazakhstan and Hong Kong. A similar event was held May 23 in Astana. Within the forum numerous bilateral meetings took place, during which the businessmen debated cooperation in the field of construction, the supply of spare parts, electrical appliances, security systems, shoes, food and other issues. Chairman of the National Bank of Kazakhstan Grigoriy Marchenko in his speech spoke about the history and current state of the national currency, the post-crisis development of Kazakhstan and shared short-term economic forecasts.

Construction of a joint facility to process uranium by Canada’s Cameco and Kazakhstan’s KazAtomProm National Nuclear Company will start in 2018, KazTAG reported, citing Robert Steane, Cameco senior vice president and chief operating officer as quoted in the company’s statement issued for the 26th sitting of the Foreign Investors Council on May 22. “There is a memorandum signed with KazAtomProm to transfer the company’s own technology to construct and operate a highly efficient and environmentally friendly facility that will be processing 6,000 tons of uranium (UO3) a year, relying on the Ulba Metallurgical Plant [engaged in production of uranium, beryllium and tantalum products for the needs of the nuclear power industry] based in Ust-Kamenogorsk.“ The actual transfer of technology will take place upon the start of construction in 2018. The facility is to begin uranium production in 2020.” The feasibility study for the project is to be launched in 2014. “The Ulba Plant is an ideal place, given its long history of metallurgical production, infrastructure, technical expertise [it was established in 1949]”, the statement reads, adding that as soon as Kazakhstan and Canada sign a bilateral agreement on the peaceful use of atomic power, the transfer of the technology will expand cooperation between the two companies.” KazAtomProm, including its stakes in other companies, produced a total of 11,900 tons of natural uranium in 2012 (over 20 percent of global production). In 2011, the company produced 11,079 tons.