The development of Kazakhstan’s industrial economy in the 1920s and 1930s established a number of patterns that were to persist throughout the extended postwar period. First and foremost, Kazakhstan’s industrial growth depended principally on the development of the country’s significant mineral and mineral fuel reserves. For the most part, individual enterprises were large and often isolated. Each required substantial investment in new infrastructure as well as in the development of the mine, well, or processing facility. Entire towns were built, including housing, water, and a variety of social services, as well as railroads (or pipelines) to transport the newly mined mineral or mineral fuels. Already by 1940, 36 percent of Kazakhstan’s industrial output was accounted for by four basic industrial sectors - electric power, fuels, nonferrous metals mining and metallurgy, and machine building and metalworking (Beaucourt et al. 1963:229). The concentration increased in subsequent years.
Regional concentrations of industries which emerged in the earliest phases of development became even more apparent. The eastern region of Kazakhstan, with its many nonferrous mineral deposits, remained an important center of nonferrous metal mining and additional processing capacity was developed as the significant hydroelectric potential of the Irtysh River was harnessed. The central region of Kazakhstan remained an important base of coal and copper mining. An electric power industry as well as copper refining and processing was also developed. The wartime development of a steel plant in Karaganda plus iron ore discoveries in the Karaganda region as well as to the west led to the establishment of a major iron and steel complex in Karaganda. The northern and western regions of Kazakhstan continued to be developed as important energy centers. In the north, the coal deposits at Ekibastuz and Maikain fueled a rapidly growing electric power industry. In the west, oil discoveries at Kulsary, on the Mangyshlak Peninsula, and later at Tengiz and in Aktyubinsk fueled rapid growth in oil production and exports. The Karachaganak natural gas