Traditionally, at the end of a year the results of the activities completed are summarized in order to clearly see the plans for the future. This is especially important for companies that have come to Kazakhstan for the long term. JSC Financial investment corporation, “Alel”, is undoubtedly one of them. What are the results achieved by the company in 2006 and with what plans is it entering the next year? These and other questions Exclusive asks Ross Thomas Kalnan, general director of JSC Financial investment corporation “Alel”.
- How do you assess the passing year from the point of view of your company’s activity?
- This year was pretty successful for us. It has been two years since our corporation started the realisation of the project involving the introduction of new technology for biological leaching when extracting gold in Kazakhstan. I was discussing this project in one of the issues of your magazine. I can only add that the technology has proved its profitability and ecological safety. In order to support this statement with hard evidence, let me cite some numbers. Within 11 months of 2006, “Alel” extracted 380 tons of ore (last year the figure was 34 tons). In the same period we produced more than 1,410 kg of marketable gold, or more than 45,336 ounces (against 641 kg or 20,618 ounces for the first 11 months of 2005). Until the end of this year, we plan to launch an industrial scale production on the experimental plant. Next year, our company intends to reach projected productivity levels in order to produce 3,000 kg of marketable gold. We will also modernise and re-equip the sulphide plant and are going to invest an additional $10 to $12 million in the project. However, what is important for me, as a gold-miner with an experience of working in different regions of the world, is that the gold-mining industry requires not only large investments, but also favourable investment conditions for working.
- What are the favourable conditions, in your point of view, that help you operate successfully in Kazakhstan?
- Let me start by saying that any investor would be satisfied with the political stability in the country. It is important that the financial reputation of Kazakhstan is rising in the opinion of the international business community. Besides, the swift economic development of the republic resulted in the appearance of Kazakhstan’s own internal financial resources for financing various projects. It’s worth mentioning that not every country has such advantages. Realisation of long-term projects would become impossible without the confidence that Kazakhstan will become a promising country, from an economic point of view. Kazakhstan’s goal (set by the President) to become one of the top fifty competitive countries in the world helps strengthens this confidence.
- Lately, Kazakhstan requires from most of the investors not only advanced technology, but also a high level of social responsibility.
- Indeed. The stable development of any country is only possible in the presence of partnerships among the government, society and businesses. In fact, a new term among businesspeople has appeared: “business social responsibility”. In practice, the social responsibility of business includes a wide spectrum of problems; these include the ethics of relations with personnel and general public, environmental friendliness, and respecting responsibilities towards business partners and governmental bodies. In our region, the corporation “Alel” puts into practice a whole complex of activities for conscientious implementation of social functions. These activities have become a part of a larger program, “business for people!”, which agrees with the slogan of our corporation “INTEGRITY, QUALITY and SUCCESS”.
In particular, in the context of social projects undertaken by the company, the city orphanage house of Semipalatinsk was provided with one million tenge. This financed the purchase of new equipment for the “salt room” of the orphanage house and other medical equipment. Besides, 2.6 million tenge was used to finance major renovation of Znamensk’s village school’s athletic hall, which enjoys the sponsorship of our company. Every year 500,000 tenge are provided for the organisation of competitions and equipment for children’s teams in the city basketball league. I would like to emphasize that “Alel” is one of the largest taxpayers in our region. In 11 months of 2006 more than 431.2 million tenge were paid in taxes, compared with 183.5 million tenge for the same period in 2005. Starting from 1 July 2006, the wages of all of the workers in our company increased by 22-30% on average. At the same time, the population of the Semipalatinsk region attach a high level of prestige with employment by our company. On top of that, last year there were 458 Kazakhstani specialists working in Suzdalsk’s mining complex, while this year there are 625 local specialists. So, as you can see, the progress is obvious.