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Kazakhstan is set to impose restrictions on coal exports in response to declining output. A draft government decree is being finalized, intending to exclusively grant coal mining and processing companies the right to export coal from the country. Turar Zholmagambetov, deputy chairman of the industrial development committee of the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development, revealed that this measure is being taken to counteract intermediary firms that purchase coal at domestic prices and resell it abroad at higher rates. The decree aims to restrict such activities and grant export rights only to specialized entities involved in coal production and processing.

This resolution is expected to be adopted in September after coordination with government bodies and the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs. Zholmagambetov acknowledged that some intermediary firms affiliated with coal mines will still be permitted to sell coal abroad if they maintain a legitimate coal supply chain.

In the period from January to July, coal exports from Kazakhstan dropped to 18.3 million tons, down by 1.5 million tons (7.5%) compared to the same period in 2022. The Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development has yet to predict the extent to which these new restrictions will impact coal exports.

During the first seven months of the year, Kazakhstan produced approximately 61.7 million tons of coal, a 3.7% decrease from the previous year. Of this production, 36.8 million tons were supplied to the domestic market for energy purposes, while 3.9 million tons were allocated to the household sector. The Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development anticipates a demand of 9.1 million tons of coal for the 2023-2024 heating season, with 6.8 million tons for the population and 2.3 million tons for household consumers. However, as of August 28, only 2.2 million tons (24% of the plan) had been delivered.

The draft government decree, signed by Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov in July, outlines that 26 Kazakh companies engaged in coal mining, processing, and enrichment will be granted exclusive rights to export coal. These companies include ArcelorMittal Temirtau, Satkomir Mining Company, Eurasian Energy Corporation Vostochny Mine, and several others. The licenses for coal export will be issued by the Industrial Development Committee and will be valid for one year. Licenses could be suspended in case of non-compliance with reporting requirements or provision of false information.

It’s noteworthy that Kazakhstan plans to gradually increase coal exports to Uzbekistan post-2025 to reach 12.8 million tons annually. This decision aligns with the government’s efforts to boost the country’s fuel and energy complex and expand export destinations.