The London Stock Exchange had its second-biggest flotation of the year this past Friday, when Kazakh copper miner Kazakhmys tapped the public markets for a $1.2 billion capital infusion. The company, which competes with such giants as Britain's Rio Tinto (NYSE:RTP) and Australia's BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP), benefited from investors' continued bullishness on raw materials in the era of China's ascension. Kazakhmys itself benefits from sitting right next door to the insatiable Chinese market, while BHP and Rio have oceans to cross to deliver their wares to China. Kazakhmys sells roughly 85% of its production to China.

At just $9.50 each, Kazakhmys's global depositary receipts were priced to sell -- and sell they did, rising 14% on their first day of trading as copper investors swarmed to buy a piece of the world's 10th-largest copper miner. As a result, Kazakhmys now sports a market cap of $4.5 billion.

The IPO proved a success not just for Kazakhmys, its underwriters -- Credit Suisse (NYSE:CSR) and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) -- and the share-flippers who bought at the initial price before booking their profits. It also netted considerable lucre for company insiders. CEO Yong Keu Cha and finance director Oleg Novachuk sold a combined 25% stake in Kazakhmys, netting about $600 million in the process. Chairman Vladimir Kim, however, sat the IPO out and retains his entire 40% stake in the company.

While a successful IPO by most measures, the Kazakhmys floatation did prove a failure in one important respect. To do the deal, the company felt it necessary to redomicile itself outside Kazakhstan. In creating a British holding company to control its assets, and then floating the shares of this holding company, rather than of the Kazakh entity itself, Kazakhmys underlined the fact that Kazakhstan's domestic stock markets are still not ready for prime time. Thus, like many of the other smaller former Soviet republics, Kazakhstan has a market still seems likely to lag that of Russia, with the latter's just-as-successful IPOs of domestically domiciled Wimm-Bill-Dann (NYSE:WBD), VimpelCom (NYSE:VIP), or Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT).

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares in any company mentioned above.