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The “Daughter” of “Samruk-Kazyna” will begin an exploration of one of the largest tungsten deposits outside China this year. The National Mining Company “Tau-Ken Samruk” (“daughter” of “Samruk-Kazyna”) will start scientific research on the tungsten project Upper Kayrakty in the Shet district of the Karaganda region, said the chief business development officer of the company Nariman Absametov.

“The final aspect of the tungsten ore project. Kazakhstan possesses the largest reserves adjacent to China, and we see tremendous potential in this direction… We plan to conduct research in this direction on the Upper Kayrakty project,” he said during the MINEX Kazakhstan -2024 forum.

The company plans to develop and test heap leaching technology for tungsten ores.

“To find good heap leaching technologies for tungsten ores directly. No one else is doing this yet, but we have similar technologies for copper, and I think they will be quite suitable conditions. For this, we will also conduct research this year,” Absametov said.

The first stage in the form of large-scale laboratory research will take place this year already. According to him, in case of a positive outcome of this research, the company plans to move on to the second stage.

The resource volume for the Upper Kayrakty project according to western JORC standards in the Measured+Indicated+Inferred categories amounts to 683.7 million tons of tungsten ore (712 thousand tons of tungsten trioxide in the ore). Upper Kayrakty is included in the list of deposits of strategic importance.

In 2018, the chairman of the board of “Tau-Ken Samruk” Kanat Kudaibergen (now this position is held by Bakyt Chirchikbayev) announced that tungsten mining at the deposit was planned to start in 2022. Later, it was reported about the plans of the Chinese Xiamen Tungsten to become a strategic partner in the Kazakh tungsten project, however, in 2020, the key shareholder of the company did not approve the deal, as the State Property Supervision and Management Committee of China refused to approve the deal.

Chirchikbayev said during the MINEX Kazakhstan -2024 forum that “Tau-Ken Samruk” received a positive conclusion from state expertise on the feasibility study for the tungsten project Northern Katpar and Upper Kayrakty.

“For the tungsten project Northern Katpar and Upper Kayrakty, we literally at the end of March received a positive conclusion of state expertise on the feasibility study of the project and immediately distributed it to all interested partners through a ‘data room’ with whom confidentiality agreements have been signed. At the moment, this project is under consideration by several partners. Next, we will wait, implementing everything through the rules of project privatization,” Chirchikbayev noted.

At the same time, Absametov mentioned another project.

“For the exploration of rare earth metals – our project ‘Akbulak’. Its implementation. This is our license in the Kostanay region. We work here with the American company Cove Capital, which invests in Kazakhstan. Contractual conditions have already been signed, geological exploration work is starting – at least two to three years. we hope to find something significant,” he said.

In early April, the press service of “Samruk-Kazyna” reported that the American Cove Capital and the national mining company “Tau-Ken Samruk” (“daughter” of “Samruk-Kazyna”) will jointly search for rare and rare-earth metals in the Akbulak area of the Kostanay region, near Arkalyk. The relevant agreement was signed by the parties on April 8.

For joint work, American investors will create a joint venture together with “Tau-Ken Samruk” and “Kazgeology”. Cove Capital will fully finance geological exploration until reserves are put on the balance sheet.

“Rare earths are very tricky materials. They can depend on the proportional ratio. Not all of them are very valuable. But everyone wants those rare earth metals where the necessary proportionate ratio already exists, and project costs are also important,” Absametov said.

According to him, the company will answer these questions together with the American partner in the next three years.

Earlier it was reported that the company KAZ Critical Minerals, owned by KAZ Resources (USA, a subsidiary of American Cove Capital), will conduct exploration of rare metals in the Gremyachinsky area of the Ulan district of the East Kazakhstan region without partnership with “Tau-Ken Samruk”.

KAZ Critical Minerals received a six-year license for the exploration of solid minerals on June 5, 2023. In the materials for the public hearings on April 12, the company reported that the goal of geological exploration work on several blocks with a total area of 4.5 square km is to search for rare metal ores.