Updated on 22.02.2019, 19:20 (AST)

Kazakhmys Corporation CEO Bakhtiyar KRYKPYSHEV:
Despite the difficulties, the corporation operates steadily

In the beginning of 2016 Kazakhmys significantly increased its volume of production. CEO of Kazakhmys Bakhtiyar KRYKPYSHEV told Interfax-Kazakhstan in an interview about company’s cost efficiency and investment policies.

- Mr. Krykpyshev, could you tell us about last year’s results and plans for this year?

- Last year we produced more than 220,000 tonnes of copper cathode from our ore. Kazakhmys is one of the largest producers of silver in the world and last year we produced 275,000 tonnes of refined silver.

In the first quarter of 2016 we produced 55,500 tonnes of copper cathode. Production increased by 4,100 tonnes compared to 2015. Production of gold bars increased by 95% year over year, and silver by 12%.

Our concentrators processed about 7.4 million tonnes of ore in the first quarter of 2016. This year we plan to produce 224,400 tonnes of copper cathode.

All our enterprises met the production targets and keep operating steadily despite the current economic situation.

- The copper prices have been rather low for a long time and a great many international companies are now looking for cost efficient solutions to copper extraction.  What can you tell about cost efficiency policy of Kazakhmys?

- In 2015, the global copper market saw a fall in copper prices and we do not expect the situation to improve drastically this year. We had to take some measures to maintain profitability. We are implementing several programs to optimize our processes, reviewing all our expenditures and replacing the old equipment with more efficient equipment.

We also plan to change the mining methods at our copper deposits over low copper prices. Currently, we use the room and pillar mining method, which allows us to extract all the ore in our deposits but is very expensive. In this connection, we are going to introduce the rib-pillar mining method which is more efficient in terms of production costs. This method will allow us to produce copper cathode of higher quality.

We are also taking some measures to optimize our operating costs by reducing the administrative staff. It is very expensive to keep a huge administrative staff in a crisis, but we are trying to save jobs for our production personnel.

- What is the investment policy of the company for the next few years?

- Despite the current economic situation, we have extensive plans for development. We plan to keep upgrading our mines and production facilities.

This year we plan to put into operation a new mine, Zhylandy, in Zhezkazgan. This mine will reach its design capacity in 2021. Zhaman-Aibat 2, another deposit not far from Zhezkazgan, will be brought into service in 2016. Also, we plan to increase output at Nurazgan Mining and Concentrating Works, located in Karaganda region, from 3.3 million tonnes to 4 million tonnes a year in 2017.

Today we pay considerable attention to geological exploration. For surface exploration we use AtlasCopcoCS-3001 drill rigs, capable of drilling bore holes to the depth of 1200 meters. For underground exploration we use Diamec262 and SandvikDE 130 drill rigs with a depth capacity of 700 meters a month each. Having such state-of-the-art machinery, we have been increasing our output by 10 million tonnes of ore a year. In addition to the standard exploration methods, we have also used innovative methods like tomographic imaging to the depth of 800 meters. This project was performed by a leading exploration company. Today we are mulling over a microseismic sensing project for ore exploration.

- What does the company do to protect environment?

- Environment protection is a key priority of our company. We install modern off-gas cleaning systems and filters at our enterprises and use environmentally friendly feedstock. Step by step, we are moving to a “green” economy.

- Have you ever been faced with the lack of well-trained personnel? What does the company do to avoid such situation?

- Yes, we are sometimes faced with the lack of well-trained personnel as many other mining companies. However, our company always tries to have a workforce reserve.

In addition, we conduct advanced trainings and vocational school programs. We have two vocational schools at Kazakhmys, the first one is located in the Balkhash region and the second one in Zhezkazgan. We train new specialists at the vocational schools and the education program lasts for three years. The company covers all education expenditures.

We also cooperate with the educational institutions in Kazakhstan and abroad. It allows us to attract well-trained personnel.

- Thank you for the interview!

June, 2016
© 2019 Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency
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