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In the village of Maraldy, Republic of Kazakhstan, tensions have escalated as local residents stand in opposition to the construction of a gold mining enterprise. Minister of Industry and Construction, Kanat Sharlapaev, weighed in on the situation, emphasizing the impact on both the community and foreign investors.

Sharlapaev lamented that a responsible foreign investor had become entangled in the conflict. A small group of individuals, ostensibly motivated by environmental concerns, has hindered the village’s development. The investor had personally funded the factory’s construction, creating jobs for all 300 villagers and committing to infrastructure improvements.

However, Sharlapaev pointed out that a vocal minority—those who wield influence through social networks and journalism—intimidate the local population. These individuals lack an understanding of production processes yet attempt to dictate the investor’s actions. The minister stressed the importance of attracting foreign investors to stimulate job creation and enhance social infrastructure.

When questioned about the project’s benefits for the state, Sharlapaev outlined several key points:

1. **Job Creation:** The gold mining enterprise would generate employment opportunities.
2. **Mineral Extraction Tax:** The state would receive revenue from a 7.5% mineral extraction tax.
3. **Gold Reserves:** The National Bank would purchase the mined gold, bolstering Kazakhstan’s gold and foreign exchange reserves.

The backdrop to this conflict lies in the discovery of gold reserves in the Maraldy area after years of geological exploration. While authorities assert the safety of production processes, local residents fear the environmental impact of cyanide treatment on rivers and soil.

The Maralicha-Gold company conducted the deposit exploration, with VSAM Production’s founders, Li Hailan and Aydin Ramazanov, benefiting from the venture.