Q&A with Aidar Assaubayev (pictured), CEO of London-listed AltynGold, one of the leading gold mining companies in Kazakhstan.

What   is   AltynGold   doing   to   reduce   its   emissions  and  protect  the environment?

 Protecting the environment is a key priority for AltynGold Plc. Permanent environmental monitoring is in place at all our subsidiaries. To ensure that the analysis is objective, third parties from accredited laboratories are actively involved in the monitoring. Environmental activities include keeping ambient air clean through emissions reduction. The main sources  of emissions  in plants (such  as a  sorting and crushing   complex,   a   conveyor   transfer   unit,   furnace,   laboratory   etc.)   are equipped with state-of-the-art dust collecting mechanisms. Checks and servicing take place on a daily basis to ensure that the dust collectors  are workingeffectively.

A running count of greenhouse gases and ozon-depleting substances is updated daily. Because the company’s emissions total less than 3000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, no quota is needed on its emissions of greenhouse gases. An inventory is also taken annually, the results of which are included in a report on the presence of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). That information is provided to the regional Environment Department. Polychlorobiphenyls are not used at any of our locations. The company’s emissions into the atmosphere and water are both within the authorised  level.  No   excess  emissions  were  recorded  by  the  IEC  (Industrial Environmental Control).

Furthermore, the company is currently undertaking work to make its industrial sites and sanitary protection zone greener and more ecological. We also pay particular attention to our personnel’s environmental training. The staff participate in state-organised activities (such as the ‘Paris’ competition for social responsibility in business). In recognition of its work in 2020, Baurgold Group  – a subsidiary  of AltynGold plc. – was  nominated for  an award  “for contribution to the environment.”

 What is the global gold mining industry doing to reduce emissions and protect the environment?

In 2019, the World Gold Council (WGC) announced its Reponsible Gold Mining Principles,   which   identify   51   barriers   to   sustainable   development,   including environmental and social aspects, as well as governmental oversight, including combatting corruption and supply chain difficulties. Many of these problems are not specific to any one type of mining, but some are particularly relevant when it comes to gold, including cyanide and mercury management, as well as work with artisanal and small-scale gold miners.


When   it   comes   to   environmental   management,   the   goal   of   gold   mining companies is to completely prevent accidents that could have a negative impact on   the   environment.   Gold   miners   strive   to   continuously   improve   industrial processes and equipment in order to meet these goals. Gold mining companies are   constantly   working   on   energy   conservation   and   reduced   use   of   water resources.

 What   impact   has   your   increased   focus  on  ESG  had  on  your relationship with investors and lenders?

The ESG trend is being driven by the investors themselves. If ESG criteria used to be taken into account only by a small number of investment funds, nowadays, a gold mining company that does not prioritize new industry standards – or even worse, ignores them –risks scaring off serious investors.In the recent past, ESG initiatives used to attract interest only from individual investors who focused on green projects (for example, Scandinavian pension funds). Now, the majority of large funds, such as Blackrock (one of the world’s largest investment funds with trillions of dollars in assets), are increasingly focusing on ESG. Now, for gold mining companies, it is no longer a matter of attracting money from a certain investment fund, but of avoiding having capital cut off. As part of the procedure for obtaining a corporate loan, gold mining companies now need to provide lots of documentation related to sustainable development.

 Is your company donating any money towards charitable causes? If so, which projects specifically?

This   is   one   of   AltynGold’s   biggest   priorities.   Firstly,   AltynGold   actively participates in quality of life improvements for the residents of Sekisovka. The Company employs locally and works with local government. It has repaired the bridge   over   the   Sekisovka   River,   and   with   the   support   from   other   local businesses, built a new sports club, sponsored a school and library. AltynGold takes part in culture and society participating in V Day, the Kazakh holiday of Nauryz Meiramy, Children’s Day etc. The company provides assistance to the local population wherever possible.

 What are your gold price predictions for next year?

We   are   quite   conservative   when   it   comes   to   forecasting   gold   prices   and budgeting for our company. We use a variety of analytical tools, including the Bloomberg   analyst   median   gold   price   forecast.   The   total   cost   of   AltynGold products for the first half of 2021 dropped significantly to $766 per ounce. We are confident in the company’s current financial position. Even if the gold price were to drop to $1250 per ounce (it’s about $1865 at the time of writing), the company would have no problems with paying off its obligations.