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The government of the Republic of Kazakhstan has entered into an agreement with China Nonferrous Metal Mining (NFC) to construct a smelter capable of producing 300,000 tonnes of copper annually.

Under the agreement, KAZ Minerals Smelting and NFC will collaborate on design services and procurement of process equipment, with NFC Kazakhstan serving as the construction and commissioning contractor.

The smelter will be situated near Aktogay village in the Abay region, approximately 1,000 km southeast of the capital, Astana. Copper concentrate for the smelter will be supplied by the Bozshakol and Aktogay mining and processing plants operated by Vostoktsvetmet.

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According to the Kazakhstan government, this project will create a cluster integrating one of the world’s largest copper mines with a modern copper smelting facility, generating over 1,000 new jobs. The smelter is expected to be operational by the end of 2028.

Described as a high-tech enterprise, the smelter is poised to become the country’s largest producer of high-value-added copper products.

This agreement represents a significant development in China’s efforts to increase investment in infrastructure projects in Central Asia. In 2023, China’s funding commitment for its Belt and Road Initiative reached US$107 billion, with 15% allocated to Kazakhstan. The country aims to achieve $40 billion in annual two-way trade with China by 2030, surpassing the $31 billion recorded in 2022.

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