Kazakhstan, the world’s largest landlocked country, has an extraordinary geography. As well as being home to the highest mountain peak in the former Soviet Union, it shares borders with Russia and China, and its terrain includes taiga and desert, and everything in between. It is also thought to be home to the apple.
Aside from all these indisputable geographic riches, Kazakhstan is also home to some of the world’s highest quality mineral resources. In fact, the country is a relatively rare case of possessing incredible wealth underground level as well as outstanding beauty above it, being home to oil and gas, precious metals and minerals.
Local firm Kazphosphate, founded in 1999 and based in the capital city of Almaty, has taken on the responsibility of exploiting much of the wealth that lies underground in Kazakhstan while impacting above ground as little as possible. We recently took a closer inspection of how they’re accomplishing just this.
A benchmark company in Central Asia
Kazphosphate LLC operates across the mining value chain, from mining and processing of phosphate rock right through to its own railway transportation system. Its primary activities are geological explorations, mining and processing of phosphate rock and the production and sale of yellow phosphorus, which is the primary ingredient in many commercial fertilizers.
Growing food for the world’s 7 billion people has generated a massive demand for fertilizers, and few countries possess the key phosphates that compose them. As such, Kazphosphate has found a good market for its output, supplying it to Eastern and Western Europe, Russia and the CIS countries as well as its own domestic market.
Kazphosphate has made high quality output a key tenet of the value proposition. In addition to possessing ISO 9001 for quality management, it has also been awarded ISO 14001 for environmental protection, BS OHSAS 18001 for workforce safety and SA 8000 for social responsibility. In terms of total stakeholder care, this puts it at the forefront of its region and its industry.
Sustainability and accountability for stakeholders
As one of Kazakhstan’s largest companies, the work conducted at Kazphosphate impacts thousands of families and beyond. It has been cognizant of this since its foundation nearly 30 years ago and has implemented a number of social and environmental initiatives, which reflect its standing in the wider community.
A prime example of this can be seen in the ‘Koktal Complex,’ a health spa for the employees of Kazphosphate and their families. The complex, located near the city of Koktal, can house up to 60 people at any one time and offers a range of procedures for its visitors’ health and wellbeing.
Kazphosphate employees children are also well catered for; not far from the Koktal report is a children’s camp, where camps are held during three separate seasons every year for children aged between 7 and 15 years old. The children’s camp has also received a government award in recognition of its services to Kazakhstan’s youth.
The firm is also highly active in the environmental sphere. It has established a fund, Kazphosphate for Wildlife, which actively contributes to the conservation of wildlife in Kazakhstan and whose efforts have already led to an increase in the population of various species of fauna, including Bukhara deer and the local fish population.
Likewise, management at Kazphosphate is acutely aware of their responsibility to the natural resources, on which its survival depends. As mentioned, it has received an ISO standard for its environmental impact policies, going above and beyond to minimize its impact on air, water, and land as well as taking constant measures to improve it own energy and water consumption levels.
All of this has involved management conducting analyses of the company’s practices, with a view to continuous improvement. A special team has been put in place whose role is to implement management systems in the fields of quality, safety, and labor protection, as well as the state of the environment.
Partners and Suppliers
One of the positive legacies of Kazakhstan’s Soviet past has been the proliferation of highly-skilled graduates in technical fields, which provide a ready well of talent from which it can pluck new employees. This also goes for other companies in the country, where there are dozens of world-class mechanical and engineering firms.
Many of these firms, for their part, form the backbone of Kazphosphate’s network of partners and suppliers. They include Russian firms the Kaluga turbine plant, Enegromash Belgorod, and Sibelektroterm. These relationships stem from the early 90s, when Kazphosphate was founded, and have been a catalyst for its growth.
There is also no shortage of European firms in the Kazakhstan business community – particularly German firms. Kazphosphate counts Vakoma GmbH and Industrial Vostok Engineering AG among its German partners. Elsewhere, its international partners and suppliers include Hosokawa Alpine Compaction, Yokogawa Electric (both Japanese) and Honeywell (from the United States).
Phosphates are seldom thought of when commodities are mentioned. Nor are they usually considered one of the world’s most important minerals. The reality is, they’re hugely important for human development, and it’s thanks to companies like Kazphosphate that most of us don’t have to worry about their supply.
Since its foundation in 1991, Kazphosphate has not only become a benchmark for Kazakhstan in terms of business output but also in terms of sustainability. Kazakhstan’s 2050 development strategy is called “Kazakhstan: Strong Business, Strong State.” With Kazphosphate leading the way, that name seems more than suitable.
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23 September 2015