Kazakhstan Executive Summary


Kazakhstan Executive Summary

Kazakhstan is among the world richest countries in terms of natural resources, with the Republic accounting for about 18% of the uranium deposit in the world, 10% of chromium, 8% of zinc, 9% of lead, 5% of silver, 5% of copper, and 5% of manganese. Gold mines are so numerous in the same republic and account for a significant portion of contribution to her GDP. Other than gold, other most significant deposits are of hydrocarbons, coal, uranium, ferrous metals that serve as a large scale and long-term foundation for sustainable development of Kazakhstan.

Mining serves a key role in the economy of Kazakhstan and there is need to increase awareness as to how to foster more sustainability amongst the mining companies so as to continue enjoying the benefits. This research paper will look into the subject area of gold mining in Kazakhstan with a view to enhancing sustainability and clearly come up with suitable findings that show whether gold mining economic activity is sustainably a viable venture in the republic.

Literature review pertaining the research topic is obtained from past sources from other researchers and authors of the subject of mining, not specifically limiting itself to gold but also other mineral resources like silver, coal, copper, uranium, manganese, etc.

Findings of this research work related to the information obtained from secondary sources, which include textbooks on sustainable mining and environmentally sensitive mining process, journals and research papers by other researchers.

The findings are critically analyzed to give cohesive and all-inclusive recommendations on the subject matter which include items like the economic benefits of mining business in Kazakhstan, the impending challenges, and other related factors that a company intending to undertake such a business has to factor in.


Sustainability- this refers to the use of economic resource in a way that does not diminish the use of the same by future generations

Mining- is a term that refers to the extraction of mineral resource from the ore or deposits

Environmental issues- are all environment-related matters that have to be factored in by any organization that intends to carry out the mining process.

Once- a unit of weight equivalent to 28.35 grams of the pound

Urbanization- the growth of towns and the transformation of rural setups into towns

Problem statement

Responsible and environmentally friendly mining companies have developed environmental management policies that are detailed, on the basis of the best practice of the industry. These structures govern the operations of the companies and how they impact the environment, thereby outlining clear objectives and commitments. Urbanization is at its peak in most countries of the world, with many urban centers growing along with mining areas. As urbanization rises, environmental challenges to arise, hence need by the mining industry to address the issue. Mining plays an important role in the economy of Kazakhstan, boosting her GDP significantly. Although gold is so valuable and highly relied upon by investors, it is noted that not many dealers know the gold mining environmental consequences.

It is historically noted that approximately 161000 gold tons have so far been mined. This is an equivalent of about two Olympic-size pools. As at now, the richest deposits of gold are getting depleted and new discoveries of deposits becoming rarer.  A 13-page report about gold mining is done by one of the leading publications of the environment in the English speaking countries illustrated how human activities in the practice of gold mining have rendered the environment unusable by future generations. However, mining companies have largely adhered to the regulatory policies and structures issued by the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM) which seeks to foster sustainability in the industry. This research paper is about sustainable gold mining activity in Kazakhstan and seeks to recommend a mining business to conduct environmentally friendly mining activity.


Literature review

Kazakhstan is a country extractive industry largely enjoys dynamic growth. Mining contributes a very significant role in the economy of Kazakhstan, contributing approximately 70% of the GDP of the country, and also accounts for a large portion of the country’s foreign earnings. The republic is a big exporter of minerals like ferrous, hydrocarbons, precious metals and non-ferrous, alongside gold. More specifically, the country produces 41% of the world uranium and 16% chromium. In the mining sector, the volume of production from the month of January to June in the year 2012 was reported to have stood at 100.7%

Gold mining companies are facing pressure from everywhere including international regulatory authorities to which Kazakhstan is a member, to comply with environmental regulatory procedures which help to enhance mining activity in an environmentally friendly manner. Sustainability amongst gold producing companies has therefore been a key factor in the general mining industry, and therefore the management of various companies have consequently come up with criteria for compliance techniques meant to ensure environmentally clean mining business. In this regard, most of the gold mining companies have adopted policies to ensure sustainability so as to remain relevant in the industry. Mining companies usually operate in a responsible and sustainable way, with World Gold Council members supporting various efforts within the industry so as to achieve the best performance in the mining practice.

Large scale mines all over the globe have outlined environmental plans and strategies and plans, and to publish reports on a regular basis regarding their environmental data. Many of these adhere to the rigorous Environmental Management System standard ISO 14001 so as to uphold high standards. Members of the international council of mining and metals (icmm) are regularly audited by the ICMM so as to ensure there is industrial compliance with a delivery framework that is environmentally sustainable.

Global production of gold mine rose by 3 percent in the third quarter of the year 2012, moving up to 659 tones since a number of new operations did come to online or production went up. Increased production by Australia saw the significant rise of this figure, although Argentina and Mexico also positively contributed to this rise on an annualized basis. The decline in Indonesia, Peru, and Russia offset the effect of these developments. However, the drop in production for Indonesia should not be a big bother for investors since her total production had grown by almost 66% by the year 2009 which is so far the largest increase ever marked by any production country in the world. Yesteryear saw Ghana as the only other gold producing country that saw double-digit growth in her yearly production which was marked with a 13% total increase.

Barrick Gold Corp. is the biggest pure gold miner in the World and operates gold mines totaling to 26, alongside another project, that are in pipeline in North America, Australia, Africa, and South America. A report issued by the company yester year indicated that 139.8 million ounces of proven and probable gold reserves being amongst the greatest amount of reserves that are un- hedged in the industry. This Company has an optimistic objective of attaining ounces 7.6 to 8.0 million gold ounces that are produced urging the present fiscal year. The company’s goal is to become the world’s best company in gold production and this is to be achieved through finding, acquisition, development, and production quality reserves in a profitable, safe and socially responsible and profitable manner.

Newmont Mining Corporation is yet another gold mining country with operations around the world, within at least eight countries in five continents which include South America, North America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Her key assets of operations are to be found in Peru, Australia, Ghana, United States, Mexico, New Zealand, and Canada. By the end of the year 2012, this company had a proven and probable gold reserve amounting to equity of approximately 91.8 million ounces and an aggregate position of land of approximately 39000 square miles.

Findings and recommendations

It is arguable that the report of the National Geographic Investigation is partial in the sense that it only emphasizes on the adverse effects of gold mining in Kazakhstan, ignoring the economic benefits brought about by gold mining business to the rural and remote communities. Findings from secondary sources show that mining companies have developed and are developing environmentally sound practices to ensure the economic benefits at sustainable conditions. Companies have drawn up detailed plans for handling potentially hazardous materials, chemicals and waste produced during the mining activity. The plans outline all measures to manage their application and mitigate their impact.

Water is a significant element in any mining work and a key factor to consider in the efforts of minimizing environmental impact. it has been established that responsible mines have developed plans meant for the conservation of water supplies as well as managing their own use and ascertaining that local water supplies remain unpolluted.

Measures related to biodiversity have also been tackled in the plan as mines are usually found in rural sites where wildlife flourishes and therefore risk. A key objective is to ensure that biodiversity remains negatively unaffected by the mining activity. They have also sought to preserve biodiversity through the implementation of plans for biodiversity management. Land use is also highly affected during the mining activity and therefore the plan has taken care of this among other potential issues. It is therefore worthy recommending a mining business in Kazakhstan to carry out the activity and adhere to the said plans among other upcoming regulations for enforcing sustainability.


ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR EUROPE. (2008). Kazakhstan: a second review. New York [etc.], United Nations.

LIEBENTHAL, A., MICHELITSCH, R., & TARAZONA, E. I. (2005). Extractive industries and sustainable development: an evaluation of World Bank Group experience. Washington, D.C., World Bank.

LAHIRI-DUTT, K. (2011). Gendering the field: towards sustainable livelihoods for mining communities. Acton, A.C.T., ANU E Press

BRUNET, R. (2013). Sustainable geography. London, Wiley. http://public.eblib.com/EBLPublic/PublicView.do?ptiID=1143639

RICHARDS, J. P. (2009). Mining, society, and a sustainable world. Berlin, Springer.

ASSOCIATION OF ACADEMIES OF SCIENCES IN ASIA. (2011). Towards a sustainable Asia. Beijing, Science Press.

RUTTER, J. (2009). Mining, minerals, and metals. London, Evans.

The UNITED STATES. (2009). The CIA world factbook 2010. New York, Skyhorse Pub Co Inc

The UNITED STATES. (2010). The world factbook in 2010. Washington, D.C., Potomac.




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