Asia’s emerging Silk Road corridor may be one of the biggest developing stories in natural resources. And this week saw one of the first big deals in this space since China announced the initiative earlier this year.
That came in Kazakhstan. Where a slate of Chinese companies announced agreements in the country’s world-leading uranium industry.
CGN Mining, a listed subsidiary of China General Nuclear Power Corporation, signed up to take a minority stake in Kazakh uranium deposits, according to reports from Reuters.
The deal also includes construction of a fuel assembly production plant. With the plan reportedly being to send the entirety of this fuel supply back to China’s nuclear reactor fleet.
And the deals didn’t stop at uranium. With Chinese companies also signing up Kazakh assets in the oil and gas space.
That included China’s CEFC Energy agreeing to buy a 51% share in a subsidiary of Kazakh state oil and gas firm KazMunayGaz, which operates refineries and gas stations (as well as fertilizer plants) across Europe.
China National Chemical Engineering also agreed to construct a natural gas-fueled chemical complex in Kazakhstan.
Overall, this string of deals was said to be worth $4 billion. With sources from the Chinese companies involved saying part of the funding for the ventures will come from China’s recently-created $40 billion Silk Road infrastructure fund.
That would make these moves in Kazakhstan the most significant investment to date China has made under the Silk Road initiative. Showing that the country is serious in its plan to transform Asia and eastern Europe through trade and infrastructure, especially with regard to natural resources.
This is a great confirmation for developers working on mining and petroleum projects along the Silk Road. Watch for more funds being deployed by China in this part of the world.