Authorities boost their investments in geological exploration in Kazakhstan

Business news correspondent
геологиялық зерттеу
The country’s government is focused on the exploration of rare and rare-earth metals / Collage by, photo editor: Arthur Aleskerov

According to Prime Minister Olzhas Bektenov, the government of Kazakhstan has allocated $29.6 million for geological research in 2024-2026.

«In order to cover two million square meters with geological research in 2024-2026, $29.6 million has been allocated from the state budget ($18 million in 2024, $5.7 million in 2025 and $5.7 million in 2026),» Bektenov said.

Furthermore, the government is considering allocating an additional $82.5 million for subsoil exploration at 18 perspective fields by 2026: $21.6 million in 2024, $35.5 million in 2025 and $25.4 million in 2026.

Interestingly enough the government of Kazakhstan is paying special attention to the exploration of rare and rare-earth metals. The exploration of brine and salt lakes in the Aral Sea and Caspian Sea area is expected to happen over the period from 2024 to 2028, for example. The main goal of these activities is to find lithium.

In addition, authorities are waiting for the results of the search for rare and rare-earth metals at twelve fields near Balkhash (the Kenkuduk field), Temirtau (the Kuirektykol field), Kurchatov (the Aktobe-Quartz field) and Altay (the Kuneoy and Mirolyubovsky fields).

«We are going to conduct an airborne geophysical examination of Kazakhstan’s territory within the next five years. A pilot project is expected to be realized in the northern part of the Balkhash Lake area in the Abay region and the Kalba-Narym ore zone in the East Kazakhstan region,» Bektenov said.

Private businesses are also involved in this mass exploration. In late 2023, subsoil users registered depots of 55,000 tons of cobalt, 841,000 tons of nickel and 151,400 tons of lithium.

About $14 million is set to be spent on geophysical evaluation of raw material potential in the Aral Sea basin. The allocated funds will support the search for lithium in the Zapadny and Vostochny fields. This work should be completed later this year.

In early March, some media reported about the discovery of a big lithium field in East Kazakhstan. The opening was made by a research institute from South Korea, which plans to develop the natural deposit.

In addition, the Ministry of Industry said that three German companies – Knauf Gruppe, GP Gunter Papenburg AG and Roxtec – have created a consortium aimed at the production of lithium in Kazakhstan. In June 2023, HMS Bergbau AG, another investor from Germany and Kazakhstani Creada Corporation agreed to invest $200 million in exploration of the same metal.

In October 2022, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that Kazakhstani subsoil may contain tons of lithium. He ordered the National Geological Service to go faster with its lithium exploration activities and start production as soon as possible. Lithium is a crucial metal for producing batteries necessary for the fast-growing electric vehicle industry.

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