Natural resources

Kazakhstan has an abundant supply of accessible mineral and fossil fuel resources. Development of petroleum, natural gas, and mineral extractions has attracted most of the over $40 billion in foreign investment in Kazakhstan since 1993 and accounts for some 57% of the nation’s industrial output (or approximately 13% of gross domestic product). According to some estimates, Kazakhstan has the second largest uranium, chromium, lead, and zinc reserves; the third largest manganese reserves; the fifth largest copper reserves; and ranks in the top ten for coal, iron, and gold. It is also an exporter of diamonds. Perhaps most significant for economic development, Kazakhstan also currently has the 11th largest proven reserves of both petroleum and natural gas.

In total, there are 160 deposits with over 2.7 billion tonnes (2.7 billion long tons) of petroleum. Oil explorations have shown that the deposits on the Caspian shore are only a small part of a much larger deposit. It is said that 3.5 billion tonnes (3.4 billion long tons) of oil and 2.5 billion cubic metres (88 billion cubic feet) of gas could be found in that area. Overall the estimate of Kazakhstan’s oil deposits is 6.1 billion tonnes (6.0 billion long tons). However, there are only three refineries within the country, situated in Atyrau, Pavlodar, and Shymkent. These are not capable of processing the total crude output, so much of it is exported to Russia. According to the US Energy Information Administration Kazakhstan was producing approximately 1,540,000 barrels (245,000 m3) of oil per day in 2009.

Kazakhstan also possesses large deposits of phosphorite. One of the largest known being the Karatau basin with 650 million tonnes of P2O5 and Chilisai deposit of Aqtobe phosphorite basin located in north western Kazakhstan, with a resource of 500–800 million tonnes of 9% ore.

On 17 October 2013, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) accepted Kazakhstan as “EITI Compliant”, meaning that the country has a basic and functional process to ensure the regular disclosure of natural resource revenues.