It was an historic day for the future of mining in Kazakhstan, as the 25th World Mining Congress opened to a capacity crowd in the capital city of Astana.
Over the next three days, thousands of mining professionals, geo-technical engineers, CEOs and investors will come from all around the world as the World Mining Congress shines a spotlight on the huge mineral potential that Kazakhstan has to offer.
“Kazakhstan is one of the most untapped mining regions on the world map,” said Mark Cala, Chairman of the World Mining Congress.
“This is a country that has incredible development potential, and mining can and will play a key leading role in that development.”
Mining, much like in Canada or Australia, is no small industry in this part of the world. Accounting for 7% of the country’s GDP, the mining industry is a key economic provider and the World Mining Congress looks to explore how the industry must evolve and adapt to global trends in order to tap into this incredible mineral potential.
Alexander Machkevitch, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Eurasian Resources Group (ERL), the largest mining company in Kazakhstan, believes that there has been a considerable shift across the sector and that the time is now for investors, operators and exploration companies to do their bit.
“The potential right now is enormous,” he says. “We as an industry must be the leaders of this changing landscape, we must find solutions, answers and we must innovate.”
Innovation will prove key, in today’s industry and tomorrows. Over the course of the next three days, WMC will highlight some of the incredible ways in which innovative technologies (and innovative mindsets) can define the future of the industry.
Innovation, Machkevitch believes, will also play a key role in dispelling the negative attitude historically attached to mining.
“Kazakhstan can change the perception of mining,” he says. “with the rise of electronic devices, raw materials are key to economic growth. How can we innovate if there is a lack of understanding as to the important role mining plays in society?”
“Mining must be perceived as a modern industry, and we are standing before an incredible turning point for Kazakhstan.”
That’s the key for WMC. Described as the “bridge to the heart of mining”, the 25th WMC here in Kazakhstan represents a turning point, both regionally and globally.
As day one drew to a close, it was hard not to feel like there had been a notable shift. Prevously, Kazakhstan represented potential, a case of “potentially” defining a new future for mining.
After one day of being here, WMC is well and truly opening a doorway into a future mining district that could define a new future for the global mining industry.
Check back tomorrow for Day 2 of WMC.