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Azer Shukurov: “We are ready for full cooperation on development of the mining industry”
Bölmə:From Media

The first part can be found on the magazine “Geostrategiya” (N 8) and website strategiya.az

- Mr. Shukurov, you noted that training of experts for the mining industry does not meet the present requirements. But we know that experts are trained for this qualification at the Azerbaijan State Oil Academyand BakuStateUniversity. How would you evaluate training of experts?

- I am not going to misjudge the activity of any educational institution. However, serious activities of these educational institutions on training of experts for the mining industry are not so noticeable in the background of the current development ofAzerbaijan. It would be wrong to say the same thing about the oil and gas industry. But when browsing the development of the mining industry, the lack of potential experts is undeniable, as I already noted. The mining industry requires staff, which after some preparation and practice will be able to put forward ideas in accordance with working principles of modern technologies on concrete mines and be educated enough to have those ideas accepted. Of course, this kind of personnel is needed in every field. But the modern mining industry requires personnel with completely new and modern mentality. A mining expert is expected to have an ability to take into account all the details within the range from environmental protection to collective and personal security. Highly qualified experts were trained in this field during the Soviet period. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the decline of the mining industry ofAzerbaijan, majority of them lost their jobs and now work in the fields, which do not comply their specialty.

Because of lack of attention to this field in the post-Soviet area, qualified experts were not so demanded and the level of training of experts in various educational institutions was not cared about. But the situation has changed now. Today there is a need for such experts and as I have already mentioned, this demand will be more obvious.

- Mr. Shukurov, you are an expert in this field. What are your suggestions? Why do you not submit your comprehensive suggestions to relevant agencies?

- As Azinterpartlayis-X LLC, we are engaged in direct practical activity and are ready for any cooperation in this direction. The optimal solution of the problem can be found in combination of theory and practice. However, its implementation is the job of state bodies. This matter does not depend on us. On our side we work on these proposals and intend to complete this job as soon as possible.

First of all, it is necessary to eliminate parallelity in all spheres. If you recall, the national leader Heydar Aliyev carried out structural reforms in the country and reduced the organizations, which were engaged in the same activities. We should benefit from that experience. Look, there is the Faculty of Geology at the Baku State University. The training of geologists at the university started in the 1940s and has yielded results. Azerbaijan can be proud of its well-known geologists. The Faculty of Geology and the Chair of Mineral Resources operate at BSU at the moment.

Training of experts on geology and exploration of deposits of oil, gas and other resources  have been launched at the Department of Mining of the Faculty of Oil Industry of the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy since 1920. The Faculty of Geological Exploration has been active at this institution since 1936.

Why not do following: merge relevant faculties of ASOA and BSU, create a stronger basis and start training of specialists on the mining industry seriously upon this basis? In this case, both the material-technical base and teaching staff will be improved and lead to preparation of specialists in order to fill in the void in this field.

But there is another option, which has already been applied in practice.

As you know, recently the Baku High Oil School was established under SOCAR. The establishment of this educational institution is generated by the demand of the oil and gas industry and is of great importance. Why do we not submit the same initiative in order to ensure the development of the mining industry as well? This is necessary to evaluate the prospect of this field in order to submit an initiative. As a mining expert, I can say that the mining industry promises big prospects and the development of this field requires great initiatives. The development of the mining industry needs a comprehensive approach. Otherwise, no serious result will be achieved.

- Mr. Shukurov, let`s specify it. What do you mean by referring to comprehensive measures?

- There is a famous saying: “Everything will be resolved by staff”. Comprehensive measures should begin with preparation of experts. I have already noted my views on the ways of its solution. Then exploration activities in the mining industry and the development of perspective deposits should be carried out in a centralized manner. It is time to apply high-level approach to this field. A special entity should be established in order to carry out comprehensive development of the mining industry.

I want to further clarify my suggestion. Initially, investments are made in this field by the state and exploration work is conducted. In other words, private companies get rid of a heavy job, which also requires large funds. Later a tender is organized on the development of confirmed deposits or those deposits are sold to private companies through auctions. A winner of tender or auction carries out the development of the deposit. This, at first glance, may seem as a simple theory. It is possible to achieve remarkable results though. Private companies operating in the mining industry, which has been inactive due to lack of funds, will get rid of additional expenses; the state will take care of it. The development of deposits will be implemented by private enterprises, which will not require any funds from state budget for the activity in this field. In this case, a perspective tandem of state and private enterprises emerges giving impetus to the rapid development of the mining industry.

- Mr. Shukurov, by the way, in which form is the state control on this field being implemented?

- At present, the work done in this field is controlled by some state agencies. However, this cannot be considered a complex activity.

The National Geological Exploration Service is operating under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. The service investigates the depth, the depth structure, geological and natural resources, optimal use of the depth and so on. Taking into account some scientific-research institutions operating in this field, there is no other entity. There are some teams, such as Natural Resources Operative Exploration Expedition, Geological Planning Expeditions, which, as seen, are engaged only in expedition activities.

I want to touch on one point. Dashkesan aluminum and iron ore deposits were an important industrial area during the Soviet time. Due to the absence of that serious organization I just mentioned, an important industrial area like Dashkesan aluminum and iron ore deposits cannot work at full capacity.

As you can see, the sparsity in this field is obvious. As a result of the activity of different expeditions, a lot of mineral deposits have been discovered in the non-oil sector; the majority of them are vast deposits. Currently, intensive development of these deposits is our main task.

In other words, there are shortcomings in this field. My proposal, however, is aimed at elimination of these shortcomings. There should be an organization in order to centralize and control the entire process, including exploration activities, processing industry and taking into account all details.

- Mr. Shukurov, do you cooperate with the Ministry of Emergency Situations?

- Naturally, we have close cooperation with the MES. The State Agency for Industrial Safety and Mining Supervision is operating under the Ministry of Emergency Situations. This agency is an executive power performing state control on technical security issues, participating in prevention of emergency situations. Safety issues have a great importance and are strictly controlled in all the countries with the developed mining industry. The Ministry of Emergency Situations carries out this function inAzerbaijanat a high level in accordance with international standards.

- Mr. Shukurov, great technical capabilities are required for operation in this field. Does your entity enjoy these capabilities?

- I want to touch on one point regarding your question. Azinterpartlayis-X LLC obtained the certificates ISO 9001;2008, ISO 1400;2004 and OHSAS 1800;2007 inaccordance with international standards. In December 2011, the company received Azeri Buisness Award 2011 for its achievements in implementation of mining works.

By telling this, I want you to have a picture on our projects. It is impossible to work or proceed with low quality job in our field. Quality job is closely connected with modern technologies applied in the field. In the past, Soviet technologies were used in the mining industry in Azerbaijan. They did not allow maximum quality job in spite of high level staff at that time. Now modern mining mining techniques and technologies are available and it is not impossible to imagine this field without them. Azinterpartlayis-X LLC tries to benefit from Europe-manufactured modern technical equipment for mine-digging, tunnel-drilling, explosive works.

Our company carries out peaceful drilling-blasting, underwater technical services and underwater explosion along with mining works. This work requires great professionalism and modern techniques. We can neither do quality job nor win the trust of our partners without the application of modern technical equipment. Taking this into consideration, we spend some of our income to purchase foreign technology and equipment. Professional team, modern technical equipment and quality job.

We strive to expand the relations of our company in order to achieve our goal. Today, our company is the official distributor of the Australian company Orica, provider of commercial explosives and blasting systems. Environmentally friendly materials manufactured by ORICA do not harm areas beyond of the zone of explosion and have a limited seismic impact. Azinterpartlayis-X LLC continuously expands its capabilities also in the field of technical equipment. We apply the equipment of companies, such as Atlas Copco (Sweden) and Furukawa (Japan), also drilling machines of Turkish-German production.

Yet, there is a number of serious problems in this field; I just want to touch upon one of them. These problems are mostly financial. Machines and equipment I have mentioned are expensive and we face difficulties to acquire them due to lack of finances. Providing soft loans to this field would be a great help for relevant enterprises.


Interwiewed by I.Gasimov

(To be continued)