Copper is offering renewable energy opportunities in minerals-rich Kazakhstan despite political turmoil

Copper is offering renewable energy opportunities in minerals-rich Kazakhstan despite political turmoil
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Updated 07 January 2022

Copper is offering renewable energy opportunities in minerals-rich Kazakhstan despite political turmoil

Copper is offering renewable energy opportunities in minerals-rich Kazakhstan despite political turmoil
  • With an ever-increasing shift toward renewable energy, it seems that copper extraction is set for an upswing

CAIRO: Kazakhstan’s attendance at next week’s Future Mineral Forum in Saudi Arabia is looking increasingly unlikely following the protests sweeping the nation — just as the country is on the cusp of exploiting a growing demand for the copper reserves it has below its surface.

The demonstrations — sparked by a dramatic rise in car fuel prices — led Kazakhstan’s president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to dismiss the entire government before issuing a state of emergency.

As such, there is likely to be an empty chair at the Forum set to begin on Jan. 11 in Riyadh.

If there is a Kazakhstan absence from the three-day event, it will be a missed opportunity for the country to explore business opportunities in its minerals reservoir, namely in copper mining.

Compared to conventional energy sources, renewable energy generation is much more copper intensive, providing multiple opportunities to KAZ Minerals — one of the largest copper producers in Kazakhstan.

With an ever-increasing shift toward renewable energy, it seems that copper extraction is set for an upswing, and KAZ Minerals is welcoming this development.




In 2020, Kazakhstan was the world’s second largest producer of chromium with a global share of 16.8 percent and an output of 6.7 million tons. (Supplied)

The Central Asian republic, a country with a wealthy stock of minerals, boosted its copper production by a yearly 3.2 percent to 580,000 tons in 2020, or around 3 percent of global output, according to estimates by the US Geological Survey.

KAZ Minerals was solely respon- sible for the production of 306,000 tons during the year, with production mainly deriving from the Aktogay and Bozshakol mines, together making up 253,200 tons of the company’s total supply.

Copper is a very efficient conduit, making it well-placed for renewable energy generation from solar, hydro, thermal and wind energy sources, according to the International Copper Association and the Copper Alliance.

The metal also aids in reducing CO2 emissions and the power needed to supply electricity. In addition, it is a highly recyclable material, cementing its place as one of the leading renewable resources, the organization added.

“Increasing penetration of renewables in the energy mix and carbon neutrality targets announced by various countries augur well for copper-intensive green end-use sectors,” Wood Mackenzie — a global energy research and consultancy — was cited by KAZ Minerals in its website.

However, it’s not only copper that is in abundance in the former Soviet republic; the country is a large supplier of many other minerals. This is shown through the sizable share of the mining and quarrying sector in Kazakhstan’s gross domestic product, making up 12.2 percent of output in 2020, official data revealed.

HIGHLIGHTS

The Central Asian republic, a country with a wealthy stock of minerals, boosted its copper production by a yearly 3.2 percent to 580,000 tons in 2020, or around 3 percent of global output, according to estimates by the US Geological Survey.

In 2020, Kazakhstan was the world’s second largest producer of chromium with a global share of 16.8 percent and an output of 6.7 million tons. The country also had the biggest known reserves of the mineral, standing at 230 million tons.

In 2020, Kazakhstan was the world’s second largest producer of chromium with a global share of 16.8 percent and an output of 6.7 million tons, estimated data from the US Geological Survey showed. The country also had the biggest known reserves of the mineral, standing at 230 million tons.

The world’s largest landlocked country was also a major extractor of gold, as it produced 100 tons of the commodity in 2020. This is compared to China, the world’s top supplier, which had an output of 380 tons, the Virginia-based organization said.

Moreover, Kazakhstan has 12 percent of the world’s uranium resources and produced 43 percent of the metal’s global output in 2020, according to the World Nuclear Association.

It is also one of the top producers of lead, manganese, zinc and iron ore, among others.

Kazakhstan is seeking to attract private investment in the mining sector, despite government and state-owned firms’ ability to finance the sector’s projects, GRATA International, an international law firm, said.

This is why the country entered several international and bilateral investment treaties. It also established the Astana International Financial Center — where disputes may be resolved under common law principles.

With the exception of uranium, Kazakhstan doesn’t impose restrictions on foreign investments in the exploration and mining sector related to solid minerals, except for artisanal mining licenses issued to Kazakh citizens only.


Airbus says it revokes Qatar order for 50 A321 jets as rift widens

Airbus says it revokes Qatar order for 50 A321 jets as rift widens
Updated 56 min 39 sec ago

Airbus says it revokes Qatar order for 50 A321 jets as rift widens

Airbus says it revokes Qatar order for 50 A321 jets as rift widens
  • Qatar Airways is expected to fight the A321 contract’s termination, having said it plans to take delivery of the jets even though it is refusing to take more A350s until a dispute over surface erosion on the larger planes has been resolved

PARIS: Airbus on Thursday raised the stakes in a dispute with one of its largest customers, Qatar Airways, over grounded and undelivered A350 jets by announcing it had revoked a separate contract for 50 smaller A321s the airline needs to open new routes.
The move is expected to deepen a dispute that moved closer toward a rare courtroom clash on Thursday, with a procedural hearing over Qatar’s claim for $600 million in compensation over A350 flaws pencilled in for the week of April 26 in London.
Airbus revealed it was walking away from the contract for A321neos in skeletal arguments presented during a scheduling session over the A350 dispute at a division of Britain’s High Court on Thursday, people familiar with the matter said.
“We confirm we did terminate the contract for 50 A321s with Qatar Airways in accordance with our rights,” an Airbus spokesman said following a filing setting out provisional arguments, reported earlier by Bloomberg News.
Qatar Airways is expected to fight the A321 contract’s termination, having said it plans to take delivery of the jets even though it is refusing to take more A350s until a dispute over surface erosion on the larger planes has been resolved.
The airline had no immediate comment on the A321 contract.
The A321 order stems from a deal first signed some 10 years ago which was then worth $4.6 billion at list prices. It was later modified to switch 10 of the A321s to a newer version.
Qatar Airways has said the A321s will help it launch flights to new markets where there is currently not enough demand for larger aircraft, but which are out of reach of smaller A320s.

GROUNDING DISPUTE
The two companies have been locked in a row for months over A350 damage including blistered paint, cracked window frames or riveted areas and erosion of a layer of lightning protection.
Qatar Airways says its national regulator has ordered it to stop flying 21 out of its 53 A350 jets as problems appeared, prompting a bitter dispute with Airbus which has said that while it acknowledges technical problems, there is no safety issue.
Qatar Airways is seeking $618 million in compensation for the 21 grounded jets plus $4 million a day as the row drags on.
The Gulf carrier is also asking British judges to order France-based Airbus not to attempt to deliver any more of the jets until what it describes as a design defect has been fixed.
Airbus has said it will “deny in total” the complaint and has accused Qatar Airways, once one of its most highly courted customers, of mislabelling the problem as a safety concern.
It has indicated it will argue that state-owned Qatar Airways influenced its regulator to ground the jets to win compensation, while Qatar Airways has questioned the design and accuses Airbus of failing to produce studies, the people said.
Qatar Airways has said its local regulator is independently driving safety decisions and cannot evaluate the airworthiness of the affected jets without a deeper analysis from Airbus.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency, which is responsible for the overall design but not the locally regulated airworthiness of individual planes in service, has said it has not so far found safety problems with A350s that it inspected.
Qatar is so far the only country to ground some of the jets.
But a Reuters investigation https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/costly-airbus-paint-flaw-goes-wider-than-gulf-2021-11-29 in November revealed at least five other airlines had discovered paint or surface flaws since 2016, prompting Airbus to set up an internal task force before the Qatar row, and to explore a new A350 anti-lightning design.


World’s first hydrogen tanker to ship test cargo to Japan from Australia

World’s first hydrogen tanker to ship test cargo to Japan from Australia
Updated 21 January 2022

World’s first hydrogen tanker to ship test cargo to Japan from Australia

World’s first hydrogen tanker to ship test cargo to Japan from Australia
  • The hydrogen is cooled to minus 253 degrees Celsius (minus 423 Fahrenheit), liquefying it for export

MELBOURNE: A Japanese-Australian venture producing hydrogen from brown coal is set to start loading its maiden cargo on the world’s first liquid hydrogen carrier on Friday, in a test delayed by nearly a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Suiso Frontier, built by Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), arrived Australia this week from Kobe, following a longer trip than the expected 16 days as the ship dodged bad weather and rough seas, said a spokesperson for the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) venture. The ship is scheduled to head back to Japan in about a week.
Led by KHI, HESC is a A$500 million ($360 million) coal-to-hydrogen project backed by Japan and Australia as a way to switch to cleaner energy and cut carbon emissions.
Hydrogen, seen as a path to decarbonizing industries that rely on coal, gas and oil, is key to Japan’s goal to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Australia aims to become a major exporter of the fuel.
The Australian government on Friday committed a further A$7.5 million for HESC’s A$184 million pre-commercialization phase, and A$20 million for testing a capture and storage project for carbon dioxide released in the coal-to-hydrogen process to create a carbon neutral product.
Last year, HESC started extracting 70 kg of hydrogen a day from brown coal in the Latrobe Valley, about 135 km (84 miles) east of Melbourne, where brown coal mines have long fueled some of Australia’s most polluting power stations.
The hydrogen is produced by reacting coal with oxygen and steam under high heat and pressure. It is then trucked to a port site where it is cooled to minus 253 degrees Celsius (minus 423 Fahrenheit), liquefying it for export.
The partners are looking to produce up to 225,000 tons of hydrogen a year.
They will need to make a final investment decision by 2025, with Australia racing against countries in the Middle East and elsewhere to produce carbon neutral hydrogen, said Jeremy Stone, a director of J-Power, one of the HESC partners.
Partners in the project include Japan’s Electric Power Development Co, Iwatani Corp, Marubeni Corp., Sumitomo Corp. and Australia’s AGL Energy Ltd., whose mine is supplying the brown coal.


MENA mergers and acquisition deals reach $109bn in 2021, Saudi Arabia tops the region 

MENA mergers and acquisition deals reach $109bn in 2021, Saudi Arabia tops the region 
Updated 21 January 2022

MENA mergers and acquisition deals reach $109bn in 2021, Saudi Arabia tops the region 

MENA mergers and acquisition deals reach $109bn in 2021, Saudi Arabia tops the region 

RIYADH: Middle East and North Africa’s mergers and acquisition deals have hit $109 billion in 2021, a report released by Refinitiv showed.

The transaction amount is up 57 percent from 2020 and is the third year on record for the investments to hit the $100-billion mark.  

Saudi Arabia was the most targeted state, with $27.3 billion in mergers and acquisition activity, constituting half of the deals recorded in the region. 

During 2021, the amount of deals recorded a highest annual total since 1980, with 1,141 deals, up 40 percent compared to last year. 

Additionally, investment banking fees in the MENA region have totalled $1.4 billion during the year 2021, up 3 percent from the last year, the report revealed. 

The aforementioned figures were released by Refinitiv, a London Stock Exchange Group Business, in its report titled Middle East and North Africa Investment Banking Report for 2021. 


Saudi SABIC, ExxonMobil begin operations of petrochemical JV on US Gulf Coast

Saudi SABIC, ExxonMobil begin operations of petrochemical JV on US Gulf Coast
Updated 20 January 2022

Saudi SABIC, ExxonMobil begin operations of petrochemical JV on US Gulf Coast

Saudi SABIC, ExxonMobil begin operations of petrochemical JV on US Gulf Coast

RIYADH: Riyadh-based Saudi Basic Industries, also known as SABIC, one of the leading petrochemical firms worldwide, announced the start of operations of its petrochemical joint venture with US ExxonMobil.

US Texas is to witness the launch of an ethylene production unit – operating an annual capacity of around 1.8 million tons, the homegrown petrochemical company said in a statement.

The new production unit, which started construction in 2019, will produce materials to be utilized in packaging, agricultural film, construction materials, clothing, and automotive coolants.

This project is in line with SABIC’s strategy, aimed at diversifying its feedstock as well as strengthening its position in North America.

“This is a remarkable achievement that positions us well to help meet growing global demand for performance products while providing meaningful investment in the US Gulf Coast,’ president of ExxonMobil Karen McKee said, commenting on the partnership.

SABIC noted that the deal’s financial impact is expected to roll out on the company’s financial statements during the ongoing quarter.

In the latest trading session, shares of the company edged down by 0.2 percent to close at SR126 ($33.6).


Mastercard, Coinbase partner to make NFTs more accessible

Mastercard, Coinbase partner to make NFTs more accessible
Updated 20 January 2022

Mastercard, Coinbase partner to make NFTs more accessible

Mastercard, Coinbase partner to make NFTs more accessible

RIYADH: Payments giant Mastercard has partnered with cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase to make non-fungible tokens more accessible.

Mastercards can be used to make purchases on Coinbase’s upcoming NFT marketplace.

“We’re excited to announce today that we’re partnering with Coinbase to let people use their Mastercard cards to make purchases on Coinbase’s upcoming NFT marketplace,” Mastercard said in a statement.

“Getting more people involved safely and securely is perhaps the best way to help the NFT market thrive.”

Mastercard also sees greater potential for core NFT technology to go beyond art and collectibles in many other areas.

Coinbase announced in October last year that it is launching an NFT marketplace.

“Coinbase NFT, as a peer-to-peer marketplace that will make minting, purchasing, showcasing and discovering NFTs easier than ever,” Coinbase said.

“We’re making NFTs more accessible by building user-friendly interfaces that put the complexity behind the scenes. We’re adding social features that open new avenues for conversation and discovery. And we’re going to grow the creator community exponentially, a win for artists and for fans.”