Challenges of anti-Russia sanctions for metals and mining enterprises in Kazakhstan

Larissa Bozhko


Relevance: The new challenges for Kazakhstan's economy have emerged in the aftermath of current geopolitical tensions, especially after Kazakhstani businesses have found themselves under the threat of the US and EU secondary sanctions. The industries of the export-oriented metals and mining sector were hit the hardest. Kazakhstani enterprises in their attempts to navigate the sometimes contradictory trends in world trade responded in a variety of ambivalent ways. This situation clearly requires more research. While the  lack of large data volumes makes qualitative diagnostics and scenario-based forecasting extremely difficult, the proposed approach may prove to be a viable solution. 

Research objective: This study aims to identify and describe the main models of behaviour demonstrated by Kazakhstani companies that seek to manage the risk of secondary sanctions and mitigate their export losses.

Data and methods: To study the responses of Kazakhstani companies to the risk of secondary sanctions, the case study method was used, which provides us with a broader view on the companies of different sizes and territorial presence. The cases are then systematized to identify the key types of corporate responses to secondary sanctions. The study relies on the observations and data gathered from the documentations of Kazakhstani companies, media publications, reviews, the List of Items Prohibited for Export and Import in Russia and the Republic of Belarus Pursuant to Sanctions, and the normative legal acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan. 

Results: The study has brought to light the models of behaviour demonstrated by large enterprises and junior companies in Kazakhstan's metals and mining industry. Seeking to minimize the risk of secondary sanctions, Kazakhstani enterprises choose different behaviour models. A comprehensive in-depth content-analysis has revealed the basic trends in the development of Kazakhstan's metals and mining sector.

Conclusions: The analysis of the resulting portfolio of cases has shown differences in the responses of large companies affiliated with TNCs and small and medium-sized juniors.  The study also brought to light the sanctions' negative impact on the development of Kazakhstan's economy.


sanctions, metals and mining sector, restrictions, companies, new challenges, target markets, exports, state regulation, secondary sanctions

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