TBY talks to Vladimir A. Gamayunov, Managing Director of GRK Iskander, on its operations, cooperation with foreign companies, and the effects of economic diversification.

Vladimir A. Gamayunov
Until 1995 Vladimir A. Gamayunov worked in various positions in Soviet and CIS geological and mining structures. He established Iskander Mining in 1996 and is the Managing Director.

What were your main goals in establishing Iskander?

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the exploration industry found itself in need of serious renovation. Therefore, the creation of our company met the demand at the time and, despite the considerable difficulties that occurred in its infancy, our company proved able to organize and develop its operations. Since its establishment to this day, a key principle of Iskander's strategy has been transparency and strict compliance with the laws of Kazakhstan. A strategic direction of development was chosen to attract qualified personnel, and the acquisition of drilling equipment allowed us to fulfill expectations in a professional manner. The Republic of Kazakhstan is known for its rich mineral reserves, both by their quantity and diversity. To fully realize this potential the state needs capable companies that can efficiently and competently carry out exploration work. Government policy in this area creates the most favorable environment for the creation and successful operation of mining and exploration companies such as ours.

What are the main operations of your company?

The main activity of GRK Iskander is exploration drilling. However, the management will make every effort to create a company that is able to carry out a full range of exploration, from surveying to the calculation of reserves, with the approval of the competent authorities. Currently, Iskander is a company with the necessary equipment and specialists. At the same time, our company has developed and is implementing a program of training skilled personnel for exploration drilling.

How do you see Iskander contributing to the development of Kazakhstan's energy base?

It is well known that the energy potential of any country is inseparably linked with the development of its mineral resources. As GRK Iskander is performing its activities especially in this sphere, its involvement in the development of Kazakhstan's energy potential becomes obvious.

“The Republic of Kazakhstan is known for its rich mineral reserves, both by their quantity and diversity."

What is Iskander's level of cooperation with foreign partners?

In our early years, we relied on cooperation with recognized global leaders in the field of exploration drilling. In this regard, GRK Iskander has the support of Boart Longyear, which enjoys wide popularity in the global market. From this company we have acquired drilling rigs, rock cutting tools, drill pipes, and other specialized equipment. In order to develop advanced drilling techniques and high performance our experts traveled to Canada, where they were directly acquainted with the working methods, production equipment, technology, and equipment in the factories and sites there.

What does GRK Iskander's client portfolio say about its strengths?

The fact that among our clients are major companies such as Vasilkovsky Mining and Bakyrchikskoe demonstrates the competency of our company. In general, for the entire period of its existence, GRK Iskander has had no complaints about the quality of the work performed. On the contrary, because of high work quality and positive results, we have had a lot of positive feedback and appreciation.

What strategies did you adopt to survive the most recent economic downturn?

In times marked by adverse economic conditions the priority of the company has been the conservation of the existing skills and capacities. At this time, we chose to take all the available projects, regardless of their size, including those that are not always known to be profitable. This helped to preserve our workforce and maintain the health of the company.

How will the state program on economic diversification affect your company's operations?

It is premature to predict the results of economic diversification specifically on our company. In general, we believe that government action aims at reviving the economy in general and will be objectively useful. It will not have a negative impact on the operations of successful companies such as GRK Iskander.

What is your outlook for 2011 and beyond?

We believe and hope that we only have good prospects ahead of us, and the economy of Kazakhstan will have a positive growth trend.