The government of Kazakstan yesterday announced a decision to entrust the management and 90 percent of government-owned shares in the East Kazakstan copper and zinc processing complex to the Samsung-Deutschland company. The company is a German affiliate of South Korea’s Samsung. Since 1995 it has controlled Kazakstan’s Jezkazgan-Tsvetmet and Balkhashmys nonferrous metals complexes in the form of trust management and majority stock ownership. These were among the largest enterprises in the nonferrous metals sector of the former USSR. Kazakstan’s policy of turning its metal-mining and processing enterprises over to international investors is drawing fire from Moscow, where the Russian minister for cooperation with the CIS, Aman Tuleev, yesterday fired yet another broadside at Kazakstan. (Interfax, May 20)
Also yesterday, Kazakoil chairman Nurlan Balgimbaev announced a "political decision" by the Almaty government to build with foreign investment a large-capacity gas-processing plant at the Karachaganak gas field, one of the world’s largest, situated in northwestern Kazakstan. The decision is meant to avoid using the Russian plant in Orenburg just across the border for processing the gas, and the Russian pipeline system for exporting it. Almaty is now considering several gas pipeline routes that bypass Russia, Balgimbaev said. Last week, President Nursultan Nazarbaev complained that unjustified Russian taxes leave Kazakstan only 12 to 17 percent of the net income earned from its gas processed at and reexported from Orenburg. (Petroleum Information Agency, May 20) In a related development, Kazakstan’s transport minister, Yuri Lavrinenko, yesterday announced that the government has decided to privatize some of the country’s railways and highways and invite foreign investment in order to create an Asia-Europe transit system. (Xinhua, May 20)
Russia Strikes Cotton Deal with Uzbekistan.