From Matt Mullins

Monday 16th  April 

Day one has concluded on a successful, collaborative note – with a South African touch.

The meeting with the South African Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Keitumetsi Seipelo Thandeka Matthews, went extremely well. Although the weather has been particularly bad of late, I was warmly received at the SA Embassy, located at the Kaskad Business Centre in Astana – Kazakhstan’s capital. The Ambassador and her counsellor, Mr Theo Malherbe, showed a keen interest in my SAMCODES presentation (which I am due to present at the Minex Central Asia Forum on Wednesday) and understood the need to change perceptions about SA Mining.

At the same time, there is also a need to broaden SA knowledge and perceptions about Kazakhstan. The Central Asian nation is an economic force – with only 18 million people, it attracts 70% of the FDI in the region. This has lead to the formation of a national company, Kazakh Invest, which is tasked to be the sole negotiator between government and International businesses. The company already has 145 projects, totalling $45.7billion capital investment, many of which are in Minerals and Oil & Gas.

Kazakhstani citizens are favoured in business dealings and there is a real thirst to learn English (an SA exchange has been mooted), which runs parallel to the desire for the country’s economic activities to attract a more global audience.

It was recommended that I attend the World Mining Congress, also to take place in Astana in June, as a way to gather further momentum. I am truly grateful to the Ambassador for offering her assistance going forward.

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