12 Aug 2009 13:10

Kazatomprom boosts uranium output 57% in H1

ALMATY. Aug 12 (Interfax) - Kazatomprom boosted uranium production 57% year-on-year to just over 6,000 tonnes in the first half of 2009, Kazakhstan's national nuclear corporation said.

This was 9% above target for the half. Kazakhstan aims to mine about 8,000 tonnes of uranium this year as a whole.

"We still have as many customers as we used to - not one of them has asked to scale down shipments or review the terms of partnership," the company said.

The results affirm management's statements that no radical changes are expected in operating activity at Kazatomprom, the company said.

"We continue to implement stated plans and to honor existing commitments," the company's chief, Vladimir Shkolnik, was quoted as saying. Shkolnik, Kazakhstan's former industry and energy minister, replaced Mukhtar Dzhakishev as Kazatomprom chief towards the end of May this year.

Capex fell 8% year-on-year in the half to 33.4 billion tenge ($222 million).

The wholly state-owned Kazatomprom's core assets are the Ulba Metals PLant (Eastern Kazakhstan) Volkovgeology, #6 Mine and Stepnoye and Central mines (all in southern Kazakhstan), MAEK-Kazatomprom (power plant, Western Kazakhstan), and Institute of High Technologies LLP. The power plant generated 2 billion kilowatt-hour of electricity in H1 2009, as much as in H1 2008.

Kazatomprom has stakes in uranium joint ventures with France's Areva, Canada's Cameco, and Russian, Kyrgyz and Ukrainian partners. It signed a deal to supply 24,200 tonnes of uranium to China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co (CGNPC) by 2020 at the end of April this year, and it has signed a memorandum with CGNPC to form a joint venture to build nuclear power plants in China.