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  • 17 Apr 2017 1:39 PM | Anonymous

    From "Diplomat & International Canada"  by Paul Robinson |  April 11, 2017 

    Read the full article here:

    Dealing with the Trump administration will no doubt be the top priority of Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s newly minted foreign minister, but it was the question of her attitude towards the Russian Federation that generated the most headlines when she took the job in January.
    Those hoping that Canadian-Russian relations might improve under the current government reacted very negatively. Her nomination was a “catastrophe,” professor Michael Carley of the Université de Montréal told Sputnik News. Similarly, Piotr Diutkiewicz, Carleton University’s distinguished professor of Russian studies, told the CBC that dialogue with Russia under Freeland’s leadership was hard to imagine. “I believe it will be a period of frozen relations on both sides … Ms. Freeland is heavily anti-Russian biased,” he said.
    During Stephen Harper’s final term in office, the Canadian government pursued a policy of cold-shouldering Russia. On the rare occasions when Canadian officials found themselves in the same room as their Russian counterparts, they used the opportunity to deliver lectures. Not surprisingly, constructive dialogue about matters of mutual interest proved to be impossible.
    The Liberals’ victory in 2015 brought hope that things would change. To some extent, this did indeed happen, as foreign minister Stéphane Dion carried through with a promise to engage with Russia. Mark Gwozdecky, Global Affairs Canada’s assistant deputy minister for international security and political affairs, visited Moscow in November last year and met Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov. Junior diplomats and military officers have been spotted at functions at the Russian embassy in Ottawa; and Global Affairs and the Russian embassy co-sponsored a conference at Carleton University on the subject of Canada-Russia; Dialogue and Co-operation in the Arctic.

    In an interview for this article, Kirill Kalinin, spokesman for the Russian Embassy, said that prior to the 2015 general election, Russian diplomats “did not have contact with our colleagues in the Department of Foreign Affairs.” Now, however, “professional contacts have resumed” and “people have started to discuss issues.” This constitutes a “big improvement,” Kalinin said.

    However, the choice of Freeland as foreign minister has sparked fears that the brief détente might come to an end. Freeland is a long-standing critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and has often called for even stronger measures to be taken by western states against Russia. Before the 2015 election, for instance, she criticized the Harper government for being too soft and demanded that Russia be excluded from the SWIFT international banking system.
    Despite this, it appears for now that Freeland is unlikely to halt the Canadian government’s policy of incremental, “controlled engagement.” In a statement for this article, Michael O’Shaughnessy, a spokesman for Global Affairs Canada, said, “Canada believes in the importance of engagement, dialogue and diplomacy; including with countries where we have profound disagreements.” According to O’Shaughnessy, Canada will continue to condemn Russia for its actions in Ukraine and will work with allies to maintain sanctions and economic pressure on Russia. But it will also “continue to engage with Russia for the purpose of advancing Canadian interests and expressing Canadian values on issues such as the Arctic and international security.”...

    Read more:

  • 17 Apr 2017 1:36 PM | Anonymous

    On April 4 the Embassy and Carleton's EURUS organized a round table seminar dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of the Diplomatic Relations between Kazakhstan and Canada. Kazakhstan's Ambassador to Canada, H.E. Konstantin Zhigalov, Former Ambassador of Canada to Kazakhstan,  Senior  Fellow  at  CIGI,  Ms.  Margaret  Skok,  and  Director  for  Eastern  Europe  and Eurasia  at Global  Affairs  Canada  discuss  the  development  of  a  quarter  century  Kazakh-Canada relations. The event was moderated by Professor Piotr Dutkiewicz.

    Ambassadors  and  Heads  of  diplomatic  missions  of  Armenia,  Belarus,  Cuba,  Mongolia,  Russia, students  of  the  University  and  general  public  attended  the  round  table.  Ambassador  Zhigalov highlighted Kazakhstan's  achievements  in  socio-economic  and  political  spheres,  including  the recently declared Third Modernization program that will help Kazakhstan rich its ambitious goal to enter the list of 30 competitive economies of the world. He stressed the importance of the Kazakh-Canada Business Council in promoting economic ties. Today 104 companies of the two countries work under the umbrella of KCBC. Ambassador  Zhigalov  stressed  the  active  political  dialogue  and  interparliamentary  cooperation between Kazakhstan and Canada, citing the recent visit of Canadian Parliamentary delegation led by the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development of the House of Commons, The Honourable Robert Nault to Astana, the capital of the Country of the Great Steppe.

    Ms. Skok shared her memories of putting the first bricks of Kazakh-Canada relations in the early 90s of the last century on a fundament that was laid even before the break-up of the USSR. Mr. Kevin Rex noted Kazakhstan's economic development and political stability. He emphasized the significance of Kazakh-Canada cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

    Source: Embassy of Kazakhstan to Canada Weekly News Review, April 1-15, 2017, Issue No. 215 

  • 03 Apr 2017 9:53 AM | Anonymous

    Astana Times, 30 March 2017 

    Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) has partnered with Vantage Financial Centres (VFC), an  exclusive  association  of  international  financial  centres.  The  partnership  will  grant  AIFC  the privileges of the association and is to boost its profile internationally. The  association  includes  such  well-known  international  financial  centres  as  Tokyo,  Toronto, Shanghai, Beijing and Abu Dhabi. Members of the VFC receive consulting support and assessments of their activities from other members of the association. Also, all the centres can take an active part in international high level events which are used for the exchange of experience and expert opinions on increasing the competitiveness of financial centres.

    Joining the association is a timely step towards the establishment and development of the Kazakh centre, the press service of the AIFC reports. Members  of  the  VFC  have  created  Global  Financial  Centres  Index  (GFCI)  since  2007,  which  is based on more than 29,000 evaluations of financial centres from the online questionnaire. The index also  takes  into  account  more  than  100  indicators  of  organisations,  such  as  the  World  Bank,  the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and reflects the competitiveness of financial centres.

    The ranking examines five key areas: business environment, infrastructure factors, financial sector development, reputation and general factors, and human capital. The  AIFC  aims  to  create  favourable  conditions  for  investment  and  finance  and  to  develop  the securities market, ensuring its integration with international capital markets. The AIFC also intends to  develop  insurance, banking and  Islamic finance markets  in  Kazakhstan. The centre provides a special  legal  regime  based  on  the  principles  of  English  law,  independent  financial  regulation  in accordance with international standards, tax preferences for a period of 50 years, simplified visa and labour conditions and English as an official language in the territory of the AIFC.

    The AIFC seeks to become a financial hub for the Central Asian region, member states of the EAEU, the Caucasus, Western China, the Middle East, Mongolia and Europe. It is planned that the centre will  be  located  within  EXPO  2017  and  supported  by  modern  infrastructure  and  cutting-edge technologies.

  • 27 Mar 2017 11:42 AM | Anonymous

    Moscow, 23 March 2017 – Kinross Gold Corporation (the Chukotka Mining and Geological Company and Northern Gold) is pleased to announce that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Russia and the National Rating Agency (NRA) have ranked the Company in second place in their environmental responsibility rating of mining companies in Russia.

    Kinross Gold was also ranked first in the “Information Disclosure / Transparency” category and was the top gold mining company in the overall rankings.

    This is the first rating of mining companies compiled by WWF Russia and the NRA, with support from the United Nations Development Program, the Global Environmental Fund, and the Russian Natural Resources and Environment Ministry. It is symbolic that the rating was issued in 2017, which has been declared the Year of the Environment in Russia.

    The rating evaluated three aspects of mining companies’ operations in Russia: the quality of the Company’s environmental management standards and policies, the extent of impact on the environment, and the level of disclosure of information about environmental impact.

    “We are honoured that WWF Russia and the National Rating Agency have recognized our commitment to building an effective environmental management system,” said Claude Schimper, Regional Vice- President, Russia, Kinross Gold Corporation. “We welcome the initiative of creating this rating in Russia as a tool for improving the transparency of mining companies’ environmental activities and boosting their environmental responsibility. Our company’s successes would not be possible without the continued efforts and dedication of our employees in Russia who operate in an environmentally responsible manner. We expect the rating to evolve further with the growth of the mining sector in the region.”

    Kinross Gold Corporation is a recognized international leader in corporate social responsibility. The company is a participant of the United Nations Global Compact and has on numerous occasions been listed by Maclean’s and Corporate Knights in Canada’s top 50 most socially responsible companies.

    About Kinross Gold

    Kinross Gold Corporation is a Canadian-based gold mining company with mines and projects in Russia, the United States, Brazil, Chile, Ghana and Mauritania. Kinross has been active in Russia since 1995. It is the largest foreign investor in the country’s gold mining industry, as well as the largest Canadian investor in the Russian economy. Kinross shares are traded on the Toronto (ticker: K) and New York (ticker: KGC) stock exchanges.

    Media contact:

    Stanislav Borodyuk

    Vice President, Head of the Moscow Office

    Kinross Gold Corporation

    Tel.: +7 495 660 97 07

  • 27 Mar 2017 9:19 AM | Anonymous

    Astana Times, 23 March 2017

    Approximately 22,000 tonnes of uranium, representing an 8-percent decrease, will be extracted this year compared to a 25-percent increase in gold production, according to the research and knowledge management department of Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund, reported “In  2016,  nearly  24,000  tonnes  of  uranium  were  produced  in  Kazakhstan,  1.7  percent  more compared to a year earlier. In 2017, uranium production will decline 8 percent, or 2,000 tonnes, due to weak market conditions associated with an overabundance of uranium,” said department experts.

    Production is expected to grow as market conditions improve. Under the plans to reduce production, uranium prices rose to more than $24 per pound from $17.75 at the end of November 2016 from the lowest level since February 2015.

    Kazakhstan exports all the uranium produced mainly on long-term contracts, as the country does not own its own nuclear power plants. China remains the main importer of Kazakh uranium with a share of more than 50 percent. 

    The  Central  Asian  nation,  which  mines  39  percent  of  the  world’s  uranium,  is  the  largest  global producer, followed by Canada and Australia, with shares in 2015 of 22 and 9 percent, respectively. The  same  year,  production  of  nitrous  oxide-uranium  reached  71,000  tonnes,  containing  60,496 tonnes of uranium. Uranium also comes from secondary sources, including uranium stocks in power plants.

    Currently, 439 nuclear power plants globally consume uranium with an installed net power of 380 gigawatts. The U.S. is one of the largest consumers with a 28-percent share of total consumption. China  and  South  Korea  use  about  12  and  8  percent,  respectively.  Starting  in  2015,  world consumption  is  expected  to  grow  4.8  percent  annually  to  97,900  tonnes  in  2020.  At  present,  58 nuclear reactors are being built and 512 additional reactors are in the planning phase. Twenty-three Japanese nuclear reactors are in the process of restarting; in 2016, the U.S. launched its first new nuclear reactor in the last 20 years and four more are in the production stage. New nuclear reactors will mainly be built in developing countries, such as China and India, where the demand for electricity is growing rapidly. As expected, the launch of new nuclear reactors will compensate for the reduction in uranium consumption by deactivated nuclear reactors. The action will help to correct the imbalance in supply and demand and in the long term, a steady increase in the number of nuclear power plants will positively influence the uranium market. Spot uranium prices fell to $17.75 per pound at the end of November 2016, the lowest level since February 2005, and by the end of 2016 prices recovered to $20 per pound. The uranium market is supposed  to  remain  volatile  due  to  unsustainable  policies  and  the  economy.  The  market  will preserve an excess of uranium until 2020, resulting in spot prices below $30 per pound. At such low prices, however, few companies will develop new deposits. In this regard, long-term prices for uranium will be maintained by a growing demand coupled with a possible shortage of uranium supplies. In addition, main U.S. and European nuclear power plants are expected to renew long-term contracts for uranium supply in 2017-2018.

  • 14 Mar 2017 5:38 PM | Anonymous

    Delegation from Kazakhstan participated in PDAC-2017

    A delegation from Kazakhstan headed by Mr. Timur Toktabayev, Vice-Minister of Investments and Development visited Toronto and Ottawa on March 6-10, 2017. Among the delegates were Director of  the  Subsoil  Use  Department  Mr.  Ruslan  Baimishev,  deputy  CEO  of  KazGeology  National Company Mr. Eldar Tagash and others. In  Toronto,  the  delegation  participated  in  the  annual  Prospectors  &  Developers  Association  of Canada (PDAC) International Convention, Trade Show & Investors Exchange, which includes over 900 exhibitors and 22,000 attendees from 125 countries.

    As in previous year, a national booth of Kazakhstan was organized in order to provide the visitors and guests with the latest information on the country’s mining sector and its potential, reforms in the area of subsoil use and mining industry.  On the  margins  of  the  Convention,  the  delegates  held  a  series  of  meetings,  including  with  Mr.  Al MacDonald,  Mayor  of  North  Bay  and  Mr.  George  Burton,  president  of  Invest  North  Bay Development Corporation, representatives of Quebec’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Ontario’s  Ministry  of  Northern  Development  and  Mines,  Laurentian  University,  and  many companies,  including  Cameco  Corporation,  RioTinto,  Kinross  Gold  Corp., GeoTech,  Phoenix Geophysics and others. The delegation also participated in the Eurasia Mining Conference organized by the Canada Eurasia Russia  Business  Association  (CERBA),  which  takes  the  role  of  a  secretariat  of  a  Kazakhstan  – Canada  Business  Council  (KCBC).  One  of  the  main  topics  of  the  KCBC  Mining  and  Natural Resources Working Group was discussion of the current preparations to the Kazakhstan – Canada Business Council’s 2nd meeting that will be organized in Astana in June on the margins of EXPO-2017.

    In Ottawa, Kazakhstan’s delegates met with Ms. Stefania Trombetti, Director General, Policy and Economics  Branch,  Lands  and  Minerals  Sector,  Natural  Resources  Canada  and  held  the  detailed exchange of information with Canadian colleagues regarding Canada’s regulatory environment for mining, tax incentives for exploration, and research & development and other issues.  

    In  general,  the  visit  of  Kazakhstan’s  delegation  to  Canada  allowed  to  establish  new  business connections  and  expand  the  existing partnerships,  as  well  as  to  introduce  the  Canadian  and international business community with the main aspects of Kazakhstan’s new Subsoil Code, which is currently being developed in accordance with the Third Modernization Program aimed at ensuring the global competitiveness of the country.

    Government to launch additional 410 agricultural cooperatives to assist small farms

    Astana Times, 13 March 2017 

    Four-hundred-and-ten  agricultural  cooperatives  will  be  established  in  2017  to  support  small  and medium-sized farms. The cooperatives will help farms buy equipment, store and transport products, provide veterinary services, organize the supply of fodder and agrochemical products and help with lending. Vice Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan Kairat Aituganov said the program was launched last year  and  157  cooperatives  are  already  cooperating  with  15,000  farms.  The  cooperatives  created more than 100 milk collecting centres and 7,000 forage bases. In general, the indicative plans are executed in all regions, according to Kazinform.

    Aituganov reported that as of March 9, all tasks have been achieved in all regions of the country. The  Ministry  of  Agriculture  developed  approaches  to  involve  small  and  medium-sized  farms  in agricultural  cooperation  under the State Program for the Development of the  Agricultural  and Industrial Complex for 2017-2021, an initiative of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. 

    The  vice  minister  reported  that  financing  of  the  cooperatives  by  the  fund  of  financial  support became the top priority of the fund. He emphasized that the initial payment is made at the expense of investment subsidies. The fund implemented new directions of subsidizing farmers: milk production cheapening, fattening of  bulls  and  lambs,  cheapening  of  the  cost  of  equipment  and  machinery  up  to  50  percent  and subsidies to cooperatives for reimbursement of VAT. Tripartite  plans  have  been  concluded  between  the  ministries  of  agriculture,  labour  and  social protection  of  the  population  and  city  and  regional administrations.  A  single  call  centre  for consultations on cooperation and a website have been created. A group of experts has been trained on the basis  of Atameken scientific and production enterprise to  implement  the new program. Special information materials, including booklets and videos for training in the regions are used as well. 

    According to the vice minister, training seminars were organised in all 165 districts and cities of the state from Feb. 1 to 22 this year. As of March 9, 75 farms have purchased equipment using the state program. The  ministry  plans  to  allocate  50  billion  tenge  ($157.9  million)  this  year  to  support  small  and medium-sized farms.

    Industry experts optimistic about introduction of autonomous vehicles in Kazakhstan 

    Astana Times, 13 March 2017 

    Iveco representative in Kazakhstan Lorenzo Bernardeli said he was optimistic about the future of autonomous vehicles in Kazakhstan during an international forum in Astana, according to the press services of Agromashholding and SaryarkaAvtoProm. Its partner in Kazakhstan will most likely be the AllurGroup assembly plant in Kostanai. “During the forum, the representative of Iveco, Lorenzo Bernardeli, presented futuristic concepts of the  cars  with  innovative  solutions.  Iveco  is  part  of  the  CNH  Industrial  Corporation  and  is demonstrating  an  active  introduction  of  cutting-edge  technologies  in  the  commercial  technology sector. The speaker noted that the producer adheres to the policy of switching to the unmanned cars and expressed hope that Kazakh colleagues will be able to follow suit,” the press release read. Bernardeli also said the range of Iveco cars manufactured in Kostanai was adapted for Kazakhstan to meet the needs of customers in this market, including climatic conditions and road conditions of the southern and central regions of the country.

     “We are seeing a rapid development of production in Kazakhstan and the desire of our innovative partner  AllurGroup to  test  and implement  innovations  and technologies; we think that models of futuristic cars will be available to the Kazakhstan market in the future,” he said. Kostanai’s  plant  was  the  first  plant  to  switch  to  the  full-cycle  production  of  cars  and  became a springboard for the formation in the country of adjacent production of auto components and spare parts,  such  as  batteries,  tires,  glasses,  electrical  engineering,  among  other  technological  products while the plant is also developing commercial transport. The production site is working on the localisation of processes and today, in addition to assembling, is carrying out welding and painting of parts in some models of commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles meet all European standards and regulations of the Euro 5 type of fuel, and they also have a number of improved technical qualities. The share of localisation of technology is some 33 percent and in specialised assemblies is up to 50 percent. With the use of new technologies, it was possible to reduce the operational cost of equipment by 4 percent. To ensure the maximum productivity Iveco has done considerable work to create the best braking system for all types of car parts. These innovative solutions are also applied in models that are being assembled in Kostanai today.

  • 20 Feb 2017 10:02 PM | Anonymous, 13.02.2017 

    A resurgence in interest for nuclear energy and a sharp reduction in supply is putting a glow on the uranium market, with prices surging 30 percent this-year-to-date. Benchmark  uranium  futures  on  the  New  York  Mercantile  Exchange  are  trading  around  $27  per pound, with prices  getting a boost after top supplier Khazakhstan shocked the market on Jan. 10 when  state-owned  Kazatomprom  announced  a  10  percent  production  cut.  All  of  Kazakhstan's uranium output is produced by the company. Kazakhstan  supplies  40  percent  of  the  world's  uranium  supply,  so  any  output  cuts  will  have  an outsized impact on the market, said Warren Gilman, CEO of CEF Holdings, a Hong Kong-based investment company. Almost all of the world's mined uranium is used for nuclear power generation.

    In the company's announcement last month, Kazatomprom chairman Askar Zhumagaliyev said the company will cut  10 percent  of its output this  year, an amount equivalent  to  3 percent  of global production. The decision stems from an oversupply that contributed to a sustained crash in prices that saw prices slump to a 12-year low last December. Kazatomprom's  troubles  came  after  years  of  expanding  supplies  from  2011—the  year  of  Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster, when a powerful earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown and radiation leaks. The accident prompted plant shutdowns in Japan and re-examination of nuclear safety and policies in many other countries, slashing uranium demand. There's been a recent uptick in interest however, notably from emerging markets like China, India and Southeast Asia. "You have a very good long-term indicator of what demand is going to be; what is the volatility in the recipe is the supply," said CEF's Gilman. "You've got a very focused supply of uranium in a country which has significant sovereign risks surrounding it," added Leigh Curyer, the CEO of NexGen Energy, a uranium exploration company. "(Nuclear power) is undergoing quite a resurgence. A lot of countries are recognizing that nuclear power is the baseload supply of electricity that is emissions-free," he added.

    This is particularly in China where air pollution from coal-powered plants have become a social and political issue. There  are  some  61  nuclear  plants  being  built  globally  with  another  150  being  planned,  so  the demand  outlook  for  uranium  is  much  stronger  than  that  for  other  fossil  fuels,  said  Mark  Jolley, equity strategist at CCB International Securities. Macquarie Bank was more circumspect on the current rally, noting that the jump was from a low base as prices tanked to a 12-year low of $18 per pound low in November, with the run-up lagging gains in the energy complex. "Uranium pricing is currently trading 50 percent of where it was 40 years ago in nominal terms – never mind adjusting for inflation. There is no other commodity for which this is true. Essentially, this  has  put  uranium  in  the  situation  where  many  peer  commodities  were  at  this  time  last  year, trading too far into the cost curve for pricing to be sustainable," analysts wrote in a report on Jan. 20.

    Even  so,  the  Australian  bank  was  upbeat  on  the  outlook  on  confidence  in  the  U.S.,  the  world's largest uranium consumer. "With the closure of a large number of nuclear power plants announced earlier in 2016 on economic grounds, legislative actions in New York and Illinois keeping some of these open will provide both more optimism and spot market demand into 2017," Macquarie analysts wrote.

  • 17 Feb 2017 4:34 PM | Anonymous

    In 2017, the state-owned corporation Rosatom will allocated 7 billion rubles for the project "Breakthrough", the press centre of the Tomsk region’s administration reports, citing the governor Sergei Zhvachkin.

    General director of Rosatom Alexei Likhachev, head of the state-owned corporation’s fuel company TVEL Yuri Olenin and Sergei Zhvachkin discussed the current issues of the Siberian chemical plant’s activity in 2017, as well as the progress of the "Breakthrough" project in Seversk.

    "Alexei Evgenievich confirmed that in 2017 9 billion rubles will be allocated for the "Breakthrough" project, including 7 billion will be allocated by Rosatom," - the governor of the Tomsk region said.

    According to him, at the meeting they agreed with Rosatom to synchronize the decommissioning of obsolete equipment at the Siberian chemical plant facilities with the implementation of the "Breakthrough" project schedule.

    Rosatom implements the "Breakthrough" project at the Siberian chemical plant, which provides for the creation of a new technological platform of the nuclear industry with a closed nuclear fuel cycle and is aimed at solving the problems of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. One of the project’s directions is the construction of a pilot demonstration energy sector as part of the reactor facility "BREST-OD-300" with near-station nuclear fuel cycle and a complex for the production of mixed uranium-plutonium (nitride) fuel for fast neutron reactors. <

  • 30 Jan 2017 5:45 PM | Anonymous

    On January 24 th , 2017, the representatives of the Embassy of Kazakhstan to Canada participated in the  VI  Vancouver  International  Conference,  which  was  organized  by  the  Canada-Eurasia Russia Business  Association  (CERBA)  on  the  margins  of  the  AME’s  Mineral  Exploration  Roundup  in Vancouver. The main theme of this year’s conference was “Resource Opportunities with ‘One Belt, One Road’ Central Asian Investment Policy. 

    During  the  Conference,  the  Embassy  made  a  presentation  “Kazakhstan:  Continuing  Institutional Reforms, Implementing the infrastructure plans." Particular emphasis in the presentation was made on the key priorities of the “100 concrete steps” Plan and “Nurly Zhol” Program, which provide for the  further  development  of  transport  and  logistics,  industrial,  energy,  public  utilities  and  social infrastructure in Kazakhstan. 

    Guests and participants of the Conference got acquainted with the preparation of the international exhibition  “EXPO-2017”,  creation  of  the  Astana  International  Finance  Center  (AIFC),  “Western Europe ‒ Western China” highway project  and plans to expand the airline, automotive, railways, modernization and construction of airports, sea ports, logistics hubs and other large infrastructure projects, including “Khorgos ‒ Eastern Gate” Free Economic Zone and the Khorgos International Center for Boundary Cooperation. Special attention was paid to the reforms in the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on subsoil use. The participants were informed, in particular, about the simplified procedure of granting rights, the work on preparation of the new Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Subsoil and Subsoil Use”. Moreover, the results of bilateral cooperation in 2016 were presented at the event. One of the main outcomes was an Inaugural Meeting of a Kazakhstan – Canada Business Council (KCBC), which was  organized  in  Astana  in  May  last  year.  A  number  of  B.C.  companies  have  expressed  their intention to participate in the 2nd KCBC meeting, which will be held on the margins of EXPO-2017 in Astana in June this year.  

  • 23 Jan 2017 5:02 PM | Anonymous, 19.01.2017

    Accounting for nearly 20% of Kazakhstan’s GDP and 60% of total export earnings, crude oil prices are remaining stubbornly low. Few will disagree that it has taken a toll on Kazakhstan’s construction activities, as well as those of other Caspian countries. Work on the International Exposition, more popularly known as Expo 2017, is progressing in full swing  in  the  capital  city  of  Astana.  More  than  100  countries  and  over  20  major  international organizations are expected to participate in the event, which will be held from July to September 2017. It is estimated that the Expo will attract approximately 3 million visitors to the pavilions and the exhibition.

    Kazakhstan – Emerging Nation

    Expo 2017 is at the heart of Kazakhstan’s drive to showcase itself as an emerging nation in Central Asia, on the back of its huge hydrocarbon wealth. “There is absolutely no doubt that the mega event will put Kazakhstan in a different league,” said Serdar Gucar, managing director of Turkey and CIS for Hill International. “This is an internationally important project. Despite the low oil prices that resulted in governmental budget cuts, funding for the project is still being maintained.” Hill International has been playing a major role in the ongoing development that is estimated to have a price tag of $3.3 billion. Working closely with the main contractor, Sembol Corp, Hill has been assigned as the project manager for the core components of the Expo compound, including iconic buildings like the sphere.

    The Astana Expo City 2017 is primarily divided into two phases:

    Phase 1 – Expo Mode

    Expo  Mode  entails  the  construction  of  the  exposition  buildings.  This  includes  the  central Kazakhstan pavilion, theme, corporate and international pavilions, as well as the hotel, retail, art and performance areas.  It will also include the construction of a series of buildings that will act as a “covered city”. They will provide residential, retail and office spaces. Phase 1 will primarily serve the Expo and it’s visitors, keeping in mind the theme of the expo, “Future Energy”. The buildings are also being constructed to take advantage of their site location. “Everything  in  the  residential  development,  from  the  street  grid  rotation,  the  block  size  and  the distribution  of  building  mass,  was  developed  through  a  series  of  studies  to  reduce  energy  use, improve comfort levels for indoors and outdoors and increase energy harvesting for each unit,” said the website of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, the design consultant for Expo.

    Phase 2 – Legacy Mode

    The second phase is for buildings that will be converted into an office and research park, attracting international companies and entrepreneurs. The Expo parking and service zones will be converted into integrated neighbourhoods. There will also  be an  additional 700 residential units, as well as offices, hotels, local markets and civic and educational institutions. “The sphere, which contains 12,000 tons of steel, is by itself an innovation. The curved facade is made  in  Italy,  and  the  sphere  includes  solar  photovoltaic  panels,”  Gucar  said.  He  noted  that  the whole project came with it’s share of challenges that are being tackled. “The facilities being built are extremely complex, and special construction techniques are required. Also, the severe winter and the tight time schedule were other challenges.” The 800kg panes of glass for the sphere, for instance, required speciality lifting equipment to be put in place.

    Kazakhstan’s Most Prestigious Project

    New building regulations that combined the old Soviet styles with modern Western standards were also a challenge. Typically for a project like the Expo 2017, it involves multi-national contractors, architects and design consultants. Co-ordination is also difficult, Gucar says – approximately 250 local companies are at work on the site.  Hill International is on track to commission the project in June.  “It  will  be  a  great  accomplishment  for  us.  Expo  2017  is  the  most  prestigious  project  of Kazakhstan, and it was awarded to us,” he said. Hill’s  success  through  Expo  2017  will  open  the  doors  for  the  company  to  pursue  other  major opportunities in Western Europe. Evidence of that is already in hand, with the company providing project  and  construction  management  services  for  the  St  Regis  Hotel  and  Residences  project  in Astana.  They  will  provide  the  120-room  luxury  upscale  hotel,  complemented  by  restaurants,  a signature  spa  and  winter  garden.  The  project  will  also  include  the  construction  of  50  St  Regis-branded residences, with a significant volume of commercial, retail and office space. The hotel and residences project will be the first of its kind in Astana. The launch has been timed to coincide with Expo 2017. “For Hill, our work to build the major facilities for Expo 2017 will be a great reference,” Gucar said.