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Kazakhstan froze one of the largest joint projects with the Russian Federation

The authorities of Kazakhstan continue to distance themselves from Russia, reducing economic ties and reorienting diplomacy towards China, Turkey and the West.

KAZ Minerals  — one of the leading producers of copper in Kazakhstan — has frozen investments in the project to develop the Baimskaya ore zone in Chukotka, where it was planned to build a mining and processing plant (GOK) by 2028.

As “Interfax” reports with reference to two sources in the energy market, the Kazakh company has postponed the commissioning of the floating power units that it ordered from “Atomenergomash” to supply the GOK.

KAZ Minerals is considering the transfer of investment in one of the largest Russian-Kazakh joint projects, in which it has already invested 900 million dollars in 2019, one of the sources of “Interfax” explained.

According to the second source, the deadlines for power units for the project, where it was planned to extract 70 million tons of copper ore annually, as well as gold, are moving at least by an hour.

The first two units with a capacity of 106 MW are already being built by the Rosatom subsidiary: the casings for them were ordered in China and are expected to arrive in Russia at the end of 2023. The state corporation planned to decide on the location of the third and fourth blocks by the end of this year.

The war that is draining Russia has created a convenient opportunity for countries like Kazakhstan to “cut where possible” their dependence on Moscow, says Temur Umarov from the Carnegie Center for International Peace. President  Kassym-Jomart Tokayev did  not support the invasion of Ukraine, did not recognize the annexed territories and declared that Kazakhstan would take care of the Russians fleeing the mobilization, guaranteeing their safety.

Financial Times sources among Kazakh officials and Western diplomats, however, describe the “reconfiguration” of relations with Russia as a careful weakening of ties rather than a complete break.

For now, Kazakhstan has no other choice but to maintain relations with its northern neighbor, and forcing it to choose between Russia and the West would be “a very harmful step,” a Kazakh official told the FT. Such an approach can lead “to a possible conflict”, he explained.

Source : News You