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Page added on April 29, 2009

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Japan opens major uranium deposit in Central Asia

Japan opened a major uranium mine in Kazakhstan on Friday, gaining access to alternative energy supplies from resource-rich Central Asia.

Khorasan-1, tucked away in the arid steppes of southern Kazakhstan, is being developed by a group of Japanese firms including Toshiba Corp, as well as Kazakh state uranium company Kazatomprom and a unit of Canada’s Uranium One.
Khorasan, with uranium reserves of more than 80,000 tonnes, will produce about 180 tonnes of the commodity this year and reach full capacity by 2014 when it is due to start yielding 3,000 tonnes of uranium a year.

Under the deal, about 2,000 tonnes will be shipped to Japan to fuel its nuclear power plants. The companies have invested about $430 million in the project so far.

“Launching this project will help raise Kazakhstan’s share in global uranium production,” Kazatomprom President Mukhtar Dzhakishev told Reuters after the launch. “Three thousand tonnes is quite a big amount.”

Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic west of China, has a fifth of global uranium reserves.

Its push to develop uranium is part of a broader strategy to diversify the economy which is heavily dependent on oil.

Ali Baba



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