After announcing production of first copper from the Aktogay project in the East of Kazakhstan on December 1, KAZ Minerals expects first production of copper in concentrate from the Bozshakol project during the current quarter.

The company recently stated that work at Bozshakol had progressed well in the fourth quarter and that it was undergoing commissioning works, including the movement of material through the primary crusher, conveyor and reclaim areas as well as testing of the grinding mills.

KAZ chief executive Oleg Novachuk said, “We have made excellent progress in finalising the construction of the processing facilities at Bozshakol. The testing of individual components of the concentrator is well under way.”

KAZ is focused on large-scale, low-cost, open pit mining in Kazakhstan. It operates four mines and three concentrators in the east region of Kazakhstan and the Bozymchak copper-gold mine in Kyrgyzstan. In 2014, total copper cathode output from the east region and Bozymchak was 84,000 tonnes with by-products of 121,000 tonnes of zinc in concentrate, 3.435 million ounces of silver granule and 35,000 ounces of gold bar.

As well as the new Bozshakol and Aktogay projects, a third, Koksay, is at scoping stage. These projects are expected to deliver one of the highest growth rates in the industry and transform KAZ Minerals into a company dominated by world-class open pit copper mines.

The Bozshakol project is in the Pavlodar region. Its on-site concentrators will have an annual ore processing capacity of 30 million tonnes when fully ramped up and the deposit has a mine life of 40 years with an average copper grade of 0.36%.

Meantime, KAZ has signed deals with Hexagon Mining to assist in the modernisation of the Bozshakol and Aktogay projects. The deals also increase Hexagon's presence in Kazakhstan.

“The reason for entering the Kazakh market was to grow the business in this strategically important region,” said Hexagon’s EMEA sales director Alan Bradford. “We want to introduce more business solutions for Kazakhstan’s developing economy.

“This emerging market fits in very well with our strategic goals for introducing innovative solutions into progressive markets. Kazakhstan is moving to best practice solutions and Hexagon empowers our partners to harness the best technologies.

“In our first five-year plan, Hexagon wants to contribute strongly to the technological advancement of mining in Kazakhstan. We are prepared to invest and establish an advanced local technology hub. We will cultivate this partnership through training and by exchanging technical knowledge as the first step in a long-term engagement.”

The deployment at Bozshakol sees low-precision fleet and high-precision machine guidance operating on top of WiMAX network infrastructure. WiMAX is a family of wireless communications standards, and its deployment at Bozshakol is a first for Hexagon Mining. By responding to the customer’s flexible requirements, Hexagon’s field technicians and product development response team, ensures its product suite supports its partner’s needs seamlessly.

“I have every confidence that our successful rollout at Bozshakol will be repeated at Aktogay,” said Alan Bradford. “We look forward to increasing our presence in Kazakhstan with a strong local team and a focus on assisting our partners to achieve best practice.”

Hexagon Mining has an established office in Almaty, Kazakhstan co-located with Leica Geosystems to serve this thriving mining community.