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South Korea to Pioneer Mineral Exploration in Kazakhstan

Daniel Kim Views  

On the 12th, President Yoon Suk Yeol announced, “We will begin to strengthen our cooperation with Kazakhstan in the key minerals fields.” The President of Kazakhstan has promised full support for local investments from South Korean companies.

Currently visiting Kazakhstan, Yoon attended a Korea-Kazakhstan business forum held at a hotel in the capital, Astana. He remarked, “Korea and Kazakhstan, with their complementary industrial structures, are ideal partners. We should continue to expand our economic cooperation.”

Before the business forum, Yoon held a summit with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, where they agreed to prioritize exploration, development, and cooperation of key Kazakh minerals, including lithium, by Korean companies. During Yoon’s visit, a total of 37 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and agreements were signed between the two countries.

“Kazakhstan is a global resource-rich country, possessing most of the minerals listed on the periodic table. Korea, on the other hand, has advanced demand industries such as semiconductors and batteries, along with mineral processing technology. The potential for cooperation between the two countries is endless, spanning from the exploration and development of key minerals to processing and meeting industrial demands,” Yoon emphasized.

Yoon further proposed broadening the fields of cooperation between the two countries. Notably, with the Kazakh government advancing four major infrastructure projects in transportation, electricity, gas, and housing, he emphasized the significance of Korean involvement.

“Korean companies have experience in successfully managing key infrastructure in Kazakhstan, such as the Almaty outer ring road and the Shymkent gas combined cycle power plant. As a manufacturing powerhouse, Korea will be a key partner in the manufacturing development strategy that the Kazakh government is focusing on,” he stated.

Citing statistics that over a third of new cars purchased by Kazakh citizens are Korean, he predicted, “Hyundai Motor started contract production for the first time in 2021. Once the Kia Motors assembly plant is completed next year, exports to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) market will increase.”

Tokayev responded, “There are still over 5,000 unconfirmed deposits in Kazakhstan. We believe that Korea can be a reliable partner.”

He specifically mentioned companies such as Doosan and Samsung, emphasizing, “We are very interested in strengthening cooperation in fields such as infrastructure, industry, finance, energy, environment, automobiles, aerospace, AI, electronics, and chemistry. One ongoing project is a steam gas plant with the participation of Doosan Enerbility. We fully support initiatives like Samsung Electronics’ plan to establish a home appliance manufacturing plant in Kazakhstan.”

The business forum was attended by more than 300 people, including South Korean Deputy Prime Minister Han Duck Soo, Minister of Strategy and Finance Choi Sang Mok, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy An Deok Geun, Chairman of the Korea Trade Association Yoon Jin Sik, Doosan Group Chairman Park Jung Won, and POSCO Group Chairman Jang In Hwa.

From the Kazakh side, First Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar, Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development Kanat Sharlaapaev, Minister of Foreign Affairs Murat Nurtleu, Minister of Agriculture Aidarbek Saparov, and Samruk-Kazyna Chairman Nurlan Zhakupov were in attendance.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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