Speech of Aurora Minerals Group at the Natural History Museum, London

Management of Aurora Minerals Group gave a speech at the Natural History Museum on geology and exploration in Kazakhstan. The event was organized by Professor Reimar Soltmanom and brought together eminent geologists, in particular Doug Kirwin a discoverer of Oyu Tolgoi deposit in Mongolia.










SkyTEM in Kazakhstan: the unique technology in action

A unique airborne geophysical technology of search of solid minerals and underground waters was applied for the first time on the territory of our country. The tests were conducted in the North region of Pribalkhash about 20 kilometers to the East of Moiynty train station. In this part of the Republic, there is a shortage of drinking water, despite the relative proximity of one of the largest lakes in Central Asia – Balkhash. The research was organized by Aurora Minerals Group Kazakhstan company specializing in the transfer of new technologies and attraction of investments in the mining and oil and gas industry of our country.

Journalist, Gregory Bedenko watched the process.


  1. Kazakhstan experienced pilot Valery Mitrofanov flies a lightweight multipurpose helicopter H-125 (AS-350-B3) made by Airbus Helicopters European concern. The plane for airborne geophysical research was provided by KAZ AIR JET Airline Company operating in the commercial aviation market.
  2. The co-pilot Walter Koopman has a tremendous experience of flying in different regions of the world, in particular, and in the field of geophysics. A total flight hour of Walter on various types of helicopters is 23 thousand hours.

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3-7. The way from Almaty to the area of geophysical studies located in the Northern Balkhash takes two and a half hours. It is approximately 500 kilometers. The coast of Kazakhstan’s largest waterway has psychedelic landscapes.


  1. Balkhash is considered as the second largest perennial salt lake (after the Caspian Sea) and 14th in the list of the largest lakes in the world. The uniqueness of the lake is that it is divided by a narrow strait into two parts with different chemical characteristics of water. In the Western part, it is almost fresh, and in the Eastern part, it is salty. The strait is called Uzynaral. This is the narrowest place of the lake. Nearby, the Saryesik peninsula is located.
  2. Our helicopter crosses Balkhash on the narrowest place across the Uzynaral strait. It’s safer.
  3. Just beyond the strait, Balkhash city is located with a copper smeltery fuming day and night. The place is rich in minerals.
  4. Another half hour flight and we touched down in Moiynty village. Here airborne geophysical field station is located, and within a few days all flights for the study of the specified areas will be taken here.
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12-16.The arrival of the helicopter provoked a great interest among the local population, especially children. 17

  1. Wind is quite strong in the region, which undoubtedly complicates the work. There are often dust devils.
  2. A safe area next to the local school was selected for parking of helicopter and placement of the airborne geophysical survey equipment. Children constantly watched over the work.
  3. As well as other inhabitants of the village.
  4. Filling of N-125. An employee of EurocopterKazakhstanEngineering, Madyar Pakhridinov participated as a flight Engineer of the crew.
  5. Full filling of the helicopter with 500 litres of aviation kerosene. The helicopter is very economical as it is made of almost half of composite materials. However H-125 has excellent performance characteristics. Military versions of this machine are also produced.22
  6. The hardest part of the job is installation and setup of equipment.
  7. It is placed on a special airborne geophysical platform developed by the Danish company SkyTEMSurveys. The search of anomalies in areas of subsurface rock which can contain metallic ore minerals and aquifers is produced by magnetic gradient measurements. The lightweight five-seat helicopter H-125 lifts the platform with equipment mounted on it using a 35-meter robe.
  8. Interestingly, to cool the operating equipment, ordinary Russian vodka is used. It’s cheaper than alcohol, which is used in large enough amounts. Moreover, the specialists of the field team don’t drink alcohol at the time of research.
  9. Assembly and adjustment of equipment is carried out with the participation of specialists of AuroraMineralsGroup.26. Airborne geophysical survey.
  10. .Airborne geophysical survey.
  11. All equipment placed on the platform is self-contained and powered from the generator, which is also lifted.28
  12. The installation is an extremely complicated procedure –there are a huge number of wires, connectors. They must be correctly connected.29
  13. We lay under the platform.30 31 32

30-32. The children are always here. At site, the safety of activities is provided by the staff of the local akimat and the district police office.33 34

33-34. Logo of AuroraMineralsGroup on board of the helicopter..36 35

35-36. Meanwhile, Walter is preparing his work place. He sets an additional GPS system, switchboard, equipment on board.37 38 39

37-39. Danish experts – John Bluth and Paul Sorensen.40

  1. Setting of equipment is performed before the end of the day.
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41-42. Transport of local residents is archaic but reliable..43

  1.  Evening pastime.
  2. All equipment was delivered to Moiynty on the truck. The roads are very bad, so pierced tires were changed.
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45-48. Next morning the crew prepares the helicopter for the first test flight.49

  1. The platform is assembled and set.
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50-51. Once again Paul verifies the system. It is necessary to exclude any issues that can lead to its incorrect operation.52

  1. The final toolbox talk.
  2. Valery Mitrofanov slowly pulls the rope and lifts the platform above the ground.
  3. The crew has a challenge: it is necessary to accurately calculate the direction and force of the wind and not rock the cargo.
  4. For the calibration of equipment, it is necessary to take three flights – two at height of 400 metres and 1,000 metres.
  5. Paul is happy with the initial results.
  6. John did all heavy work.
  7. Later the helicopter returns.
  8. Lifting the platform to a height from 35 to 60 meters, the helicopter’s crew flies along a predetermined path, resembling a zigzag. This helps to scan certain areas. The operating speed on the survey line is from 80 to 100km/h. Curiously, the system allows you to “see” trough the ground at a fairly great depth – up to 500 meters.
  9. Disconnecting the suspension, the crew moves aside and touched down.
  10. Now received information is to be downloaded this with hard media system to process and assess the quality of the data.
  11. Walter does not leave his pipe.
  12. . After some time Paul lets to fly. The main part of the work starts.
  13. The helicopter getting off the ground raises a cloud of dust.
  14. The total weight of the platform made of rigid aerodynamic composite material is 650 kilograms. The platform includes a generator supplying the equipment, magnetometer, laser altimeter, differential GPS, digital camera and other devices.
  15. The area to be scanned is located 20 kilometers to the East of Moiynty. First, the crew ascends to provide acceleration and reduce aerodynamic loads. Then the helicopter lets down to a working height of 20-35 metres.
  16. Damir Kysyr, project Manager of AuroraMineralsGroup.
  17. Oleg Oblasov , senior geologist of AuroraMineralsGroup.
  18. Nurzhan Kurmanbaev, geologist of AuroraMineralsGroup.
  19. Young Kazakhstan specialists (from left to right) Oleg Oblasov, Damir Kysyr, Nurzhan Kurmanbaev
  20. Tailed friend of the crew.
  21. Vitaly Ruziev is responsible for logistics in the airborne geophysical team.
  22. Setting of GPS.
  23. Paul and John arranged an office in the truck.
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75-76. There is a desert…77

  1. Moiynty from the height of bird flight.
  2. Practical trainings for Kazakhstan people.
  3. The airborne geophysical technologies are used in accordance with the current program of industrial and innovative development in our country. Therefore, the main condition of the contract with the Danish party was the localization of technology in Kazakhstan and training of domestic specialists. Three young employees of AuroraMineralsGroup graduated from higher educational institutions with the exploration as a major subject take part in works with the Danish specialists.
  4. ‘The SkyTEM method was originally developed for detection of aquifers’, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of AMG, Said Sultanov says, ‘the Danish Ministry of the environment mapped more than a third of the aquifers of the country with a platform SkyTEM’. Today it is widely accepted globally as the best technology for mapping water resources. Around the world, the state hydrogeological agencies routinely choose this technology for mapping their water resources. However, SkyTEM method can be used for the detection of metallic minerals. The technology of SkyTEM uses a feature of rocks of differing conductivity that can be used to map the boundaries and joints between the different compositions of rocks. The key advantage is that there is detailed information about the structure of anomalies at depth. The technology has a very high signal level relative to the noise ratio. In addition, the equipment is calibrated for a particular location only once, which significantly reduces the processing of the data, and the inverse transformation (inversion) can be received within 2 days from the time of the survey.

A distinctive feature of the SkyTEM platform is to work with the initiation of two alternating rectangular current pulses with a different current strength of about 10 times. The system of data generation allows to map with high resolution near the subsurface of the structure, and to carry out depth mapping.


Said Sultanov: Now is the perfect time to go exploring – Successful investors understand that to make outsized returns they must act in a counter cyclical fashion.

Kazakhstan is only 15 % exploited and experts consider that great discoveries are in future. Kazakhstan is undoubtedly a “God-marked country”. Its subsurface resources contain teeming treasures, such as oil, gas, coal, rare metals… However, it is well known that the discoveries of Soviet period are being actively developed nowadays. Native geologic exploration, depleted of sufficient financing for a long time, was in a deep crisis. In recent years, despite on fall of prices of carbohydrates and ores, there is a turning point in this field. New generation of Kazakhstani geologists, equipped with knowledge from the best world institutions and ambitious to use breakthrough technologies when searching for new discoveries, work in this field now. Today, our talker is Said Sultanov, Chairman of Supervisory Board of Aurora Minerals Group LLP. Within the framework of his exclusive interview to he told us about what is doing on now in native geologic exploration and what problems the investors suffer from.

Said Muratbekovich, how do things go in the field and why Aurora Minerals Group, lead by you, decided to come to Kazakhstan?

– During the last 25- 30 years, no large-scale investments were made into geological exploration in Kazakhstan that resulted in deficiency in professional personnel, technologies and working methods at the market. Depletion of old major fields triggered a potential threat of production suspension at plants and that is why the issue of mineral resources base is very important nowadays. It is a problem not only for private companies, but also for the state at whole. It is up to you to decide, but such state of affairs may lead to loss of thousands of jobs, especially in mono-cities. No memorandums will be able to keep them.  To our opinion, it is time to carry out geologic exploration with the use of new technologies and solutions. That is why, together with powerful world (SkyTem -Denmark, Ground Probe – Australia, Asahi Diamond – Japan, DiasGeophysical – Canada, Tromino- Italy) and native partners, we decided to establish our own company, which will be focused on transfer of technologies and investments into Kazakhstani mining sector. On December 1, 2015, we opened our company and named it Aurora Minerals Group (“Au” for aurum in Mendeleev’s table). Our aim is to make something useful for the state and society, using breakthrough technologies in fact.

– Many various technologies are created and offered in the world. How is it not to go amiss among such a variety?

– We visit world exhibitions, carry out negotiations, both formal and informal, to make world engineering companies invest into Kazakhstan. In addition, we train our young specialists at an innovative equipment for them to become high-grade specialists and devolve their knowledge to others.

– Am I correct in stating that Aurora Minerals Group is a union, consisting of local and international professionals? However, before Aurora Minerals Group was founded, you worked in public administration, in fact you were the CEO of the joint venture between state-owned KazGeology JSC and Canadian airborne company “Geotech”. Another partner, Kaisar Kozhamuratov was the chief investment manager of state owned KazGeology JSC. Expat form Australia, Kent Balas was the senior geologist of Australian Company “Iluka Resources” , so what made you decide to establish your own business?


– Quite so. Me and my partners – Kaisar Kozhamuratov and Kent Balas- were leaders, top-managers in our structures and demonstrated good work efficiency. However, we wanted to do something more, end up with the next level. The life itself showed as a new way.
By the moment of Aurora Minerals Group foundation, each of us had already had working experience in the field, we had known about both good and bad sides, could correlate and compare, analyze and work out alternative solutions to develop any given processes.  In brief, we were ready to create a business, which first brings us professional satisfaction. And herewith, we tended to feel ourselves free and relaxed, not to depend on someone`s mood, as well as not to compromise with our conscience.

– Then, is it easy to drive business in Kazakhstan?

– I think that the most important success factor is a correct business-plan and qualified team. Start-up budget and connections is secondary.  It is easy to arrive to Kazakhstan thanks to visa free regime with many countries; it is easy to open business distantly via E-gov, spend much money on office rent and nice furniture. But!  It is very difficult to drive your own business, as well as to make it profitable especially when it is independent of government contracts and floating tenge exchange rate. Sometimes even success has “minuses”. For example, during high season of airborne surveys, when you try to do your best while the weather being so unpredictable, man – made problems really put you off.

– Do you mean “putting stones into your shoe”, are competitors always awake?

– If we have any… but maybe they are. We are going to work at this issue later. However, in fact, various problems arise repeatedly and we have to spend precious time and assets to solve them (geologists` work is seasonable – author’s note). However, despite all these obstacles, we are extremely satisfied with what we have already achieved and we will overcome all problems and will continue to develop further. The main fact is that we extremely motivated and united in our vision to develop our business/

– For how long does Aurora Minerals Group operate in Kazakhstan? Do you have any results?  

– It will be one year on the1st December and we have already have some good results. First, we accomplished over 40 000 linear kilometers of airborne geophysics. It is the largest volume of work in Kazakhstan. Secondly, we operate a “turn-key” geological prospecting project for further IPO allocation at a stock-market in Toronto. Thirdly, we established a range of technological companies in Kazakhstan mining market by the means of geological franchising: SkyTem- Danish airborne geophysical company, providing 3D electromagnetic technologies, Tromino- Italian Company, manufacturer of passive seismic sensor, DiasGeophysical – Canadian geophysical surveying company, GroundProbe Australian company-manufacturer of slop stability radars and manufacturer of spare parts for AsahiDiamond drill units.

– It sounds great…  

– All above-mentioned companies already operate in Kazakhstan and we are their exclusive representatives. Moreover, on request of private investors, our company acted as a consultant during acquisition of subsoil use rights and prepared a feasibility study that was, approved by governmental agencies. More than 30 people got work because of our activity.

– Which exploration works are being carried out now and how can you evaluate our subsurface resources potential? 

– Our Australian partners think that Kazakhstan is only 15% explored and we are doomed for great discoveries. By this moment, we have already accomplished a large part of planned work and airborne surveying season is about to close, however we carry out electro-magnetic airborne geophysics using SkyTem on gold-mining project and planning to perform drilling works.  Our company also does analytical work at request of local companies`, which are planning to take part in auction for subsurface use rights.  In parallel, we carry out a piece of work with large subsurface users on the use of Ground Probe radars for slopes stability monitoring in Kazakhstan. Recently, we sent two radars to the Russian Federation, where much attention is paid to open cast mines devolution prevention. We hope that soon these Ground Probe radars will be used in Kazakhstan to check open cast mines that will help us to save lives of our miners and prevent open cast mines devolution.

– Said Muratbekovich, is it not the most profitable time now to search for new mines considering oil and ore price downturn?

Now is the perfect time to go exploring – Successful investors understand that to make outsized returns they must act in a counter cyclical fashion.  I believe we are past the bottom of the boom/bust mining cycle and there is only upside from here on. that undoubtedly, will affect positively the development of Kazakhstan and in particular, the development of our company.


– There is a phrase: human capital – is everything. How did you create your team? How do expats relate to Kazakhstan?

– It is a phrase, which is applicable to Kazakhstan, because it is impossible to drive such a difficult business as we have without the qualified people, who understand local specificity. Our company is successful thanks in large part to professional team. I am proud of the fact that we could create such a friendly and qualified international team with diverse backgrounds. It should be noted, that is it quite difficult to find a job at our company considering the fact that our salaries are not the highest ones. Our principal criterion is honesty. Each employee must stand by for his words and acts, be honest to himself and his colleagues.  Secondly, he shall be a professional, aimed at effective result, and be positive. Thirdly, he shall be educatable and always tend to professional growth. All members of our team speak English, possess knowledge of IT software’s and young specialists-geologists can work with the equipment of our technological partners. Kent Balas, our business partner, is more Kazakh than Australian is. He likes our culture, food; he likes to work in Astana, but party in Almaty. He, as a real geologist, works in the most distant and hard-to-reach areas of Kazakhstan. He knows how our people live. He is very depressed with the fact that the most Kazakhstani business people tend to monopoly, whereas in Australia everybody works at market increase through competition. It is a big “plus” to have an expat in the team: he tries to do everything correctly, effectively, safely and qualitatively. During the process of work, Kent teaches all these qualities and skills to our local geologists.

– What do you think the government and lawmakers need to do to make Kazakhstan more investment-attractive?

– The Government and personally Nursultan Nazarbayev, head of the state, made much work to attract investments, having created the atmosphere of stability and interethnic concord. Alongside with that, there is a range of desires and recommendations.

In my opinion, firstly the government needs to finally transfer to market-oriented economy and get rid of quasi-public sector by means of privatization. Why does the government need to feed hundreds of ineffective national companies? It is better to pass available assets to competitive environment, of course excerpt for strategic enterprises. Competition is profitable for consumers, because one obtains qualitative goods at optimal price. I think, that bureaucracy level will sufficiently drop, as the market will dictate for fast and effective decisions.

Secondly, Yellow pages principle and law that was adopted in Kazakhstan, but it lags behind in fact. For example, three large groups work in Kazakhstan in airborne geophysics field- two private and one quasi-government. Through national companies, the State gives work contracts to affiliated “subsidiaries”, prices of which are much higher and which has no equipment and personnel. While private sector, large private subsurface users and big business select two other private airborne companies. Why? It happens because business needs for qualitative goods at optimal price and subordinated contractor, who they can work with.

Thirdly, it is necessary to increase financing of geological explorations, which use new technologies, because we need mineral resources base in order to provide industrialization. Although the budget to geologic exploration was increased, tenge devaluation made its negative corrections.

The fourth, in my opinion, there is a need to create or update existing government IT system database, so it will be possible to buy geological information, as well as acquire subsurface use rights. The easier it is to obtain geological information and get subsurface use rights, the sooner we have junior-companies, similar to those in Canada and Australia.

Fifthly, the Mining Code “On subsurface resources and subsurface resources use” needs to pass through the procedure of public consultations and hearings with all interested parties, considering world best practice and be adopted in Parliament in 2017 year.


I will express a common opinion of the mining industry in Kazakhstan that we need to have long term transparent, fair and consistent rules in the market for all players



Kul’pash Konyrova



Aeromagnetic studies in Akmola and North Kazakhstan regions

Aurora Minerals Group in consortium with JSC “Air Control” has successfully completed airborne geophysical studies in the Karaganda region. At the moment, aeromagnetic studies carrying out in Akmola and North Kazakhstan regions.

The scope of works at the moment is more than 36 000 line km. of aeromagnetic and radiometric data.


AMG_logoAurora Minerals Group is an Australian-Kazakhstan company dedicated to transferring new technology and stimulating investment into the Minerals and Energy sectors in Kazakhstan. AMG team consists of Kazakhstan and Australian professionals with extensive experience in the field of geology and subsoil use in the world’s large companies.


AC_logoAir Control – is one of the few in the world and only Airline Company in Central Asia, specializing in the implementation of unique aviation operations:

-Flight inspection services of the radio-navigational and lighting equipment at airports;

-Aerial photography by using the latest laser scanner and air-survey equipment;

-Airborne geophysical investigations using the most modern technologies.
5 4 3


Airborne geophysical studies Aurora Minerals Group [VOX POPULI]

A year ago, we wrote about a fundamentally new method of mineral exploration for our country – aero geophysical surveys. The main feature of these technologies is that a light aircraft is very actively used. So you can survey a large depth of the ground. Usually it is about several hundred meters. The most important task of this technique is to obtain the initial information on polymetallic ore in the previously well-studied regions by the traditional methods. Over the past year, in Kazakhstan, the aero geophysical surveys became popular, and now at least three companies carry out this kind of the survey. The journalist, Gregory Bedenko tells us about one of the largest of these companies- Aurora Minerals Group.

Read more “Airborne geophysical studies Aurora Minerals Group [VOX POPULI]”


Field works in North Kazakhstan

Aurora Minerals Group, along with the beginning of field season 2016 started exploration work on the contract territory in the North-Kazakhstan region. At this stage, most of the geochemical samples planned for this season have been selected. Part of the collected samples sent to the laboratory for analysis.


Focus of works smoothly goes from the selection of geochemical samples for seismic measurements using Tromino equipment.


In the framework of geological exploration, airborne geophysical survey will be conducted on the contract area. More detailed information on the conducted works will be provided later.




SkyTEM at Astana Mining & Metallurgy

SkyTEM was present at the Astana Mining & Metallurgy in Kazakhstan on 15-16 June 2016. Dr. Flemming Effersø, CEO of SkyTEM, gave a speech on how to employ airborne EM geophysics for environmental studies and mine operation. Special focus was put on how to protect groundwater resources when planning mine operations. Dr. Effersø gave examples of  how a SkyTEM survey allows concurrent mineral exploration and delineation of groundwater resources.


During the conference SkyTEM shared booth with our parttner, Aurora Minerals Group. The booth was well attended by delegates who wanted further information about SkyTEM for mineral exploration.


SkyTEM at Astana Mining & Metallurgy


This year the consortium of service companies “Aurora Minerals Group”, “Air Control” will conduct geophysical studies at the territory of the North-Kazakhstan and Karaganda regions.

Today, during the VII International mining and metallurgical Congress “Astana Mining and Metallurgy – 2016”, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Aurora Minerals Group, Said Sultanov told about the development prospects of geophysical research in Kazakhstan.

“In recent years, modern airborne geophysical technologies are widely used by subsoil users, in Kazakhstan. Today we can see that Kazakhstan has the entire world’s leading airborne geophysical survey companies offering services in aeromagnetic surveys and aero-gamma spectrometry, electromagnetic studies and interpretation of data. Aurora Minerals Group offers services for airborne geophysical research in partnership with Kazakhstan’s airline company “Air Control”. With the adoption of the Code on subsoil and subsoil use, we expect an increase of investors and investments in the field of geological exploration and more orders for our services, accordingly.”

This year Aurora Minerals Group (Consortium) will conduct geophysical studies to search for polymetallic and porphyry copper ores, in the North-Kazakhstan and Karaganda regions, with a total area of 36 000-line kilometers.

The research will be conducted on the Cessna 208 airplane, which has modern equipment that allows carrying out a comprehensive airborne geophysical survey using all technological applications in the field of airborne geophysics.

Within two special projects, the Kazakh specialists will be trained on planning airborne geophysical works and work on innovative equipment.


AMG_logoAurora Minerals Group is an Australian-Kazakhstan company dedicated to transferring new technology and stimulating investment into the Minerals and Energy sectors in Kazakhstan. AMG team consists of Kazakhstan and Australian professionals with extensive experience in the field of geology and subsoil use in the world’s large companies.

AC_logoAir Control – is one of the few in the world and only Airline Company in Central Asia, specializing in the implementation of unique aviation operations:

-Flight inspection services of the radio-navigational and lighting equipment at airports;

-Aerial photography by using the latest laser scanner and air-survey equipment;

-Airborne geophysical investigations using the most modern technologies.



Logo Altyn Bank

Long term cooperation with Altyn Bank

25 April, 2016 the Representatives of «Aurora Minerals Group» LLP (hereinafter – AMG) and Altyn Bank JSC (Subsidiary of Halyk Bank JSC) made the appointment in Astana city.

During the meeting leadership of AMG presented projects in mining sector and made a suggestion to the bank regarding financing of long-term projects with large international companies’ participation.

The Represents of Altyn Bank JSC (Subsidiary of Halyk Bank JSC) expressed commitment to future projects with foreign companies and valued situation positively that would provide technology transfer, new vacant positions and new production on the territory of Kazakhstan.

The parties expressed mutual appreciation for the conversation and exchange of opinions at the end of the meeting.


Altyn Bank JSC (Subsidiary of Halyk Bank JSC), previously known as HSBC Bank Kazakhstan, established in Kazakhstan since 1998, has been acquired by and became a wholly owned subsidiary of Halyk Bank JSC in November 2014. With offices in four major cities in Kazakhstan and being a universal bank, Altyn Bank provides full range of products and services to corporate and retail clients across the country.

Alongside with its parent, Halyk Bank, Altyn Bank has the highest ratings among private banks in Kazakhstan.

Aurora Minerals Group LLP is Kazakh – Australian company specializing on transfer of new technology and attraction of investments into mining and oil-and-gas sectors in Kazakhstan. AMG team is Kazakh and Australian specialists with enormous experience of work in geology sphere in great world companies.