Kazakhstan has reduced its uranium production target for 2017 by 10% in response to ongoing oversupply in the uranium market, Kazatomprom chairman Askar Zhumagaliyev said on 10 January. Kazakh uranium production for 2017 will be 2,000tU less than previously planned. The reduction is roughly equivalent to 3% of total global uranium production based on 2015 figures.
Uranium mining operations in Kazakhstan are either wholly owned by national atomic company Kazatomprom or operated through joint ventures (JVs) between Kazatomprom and international partners. The eact production levels for each mine and JV were determined and approved by their respective management boards, based on the circumstances and economics of each operation, and vary from the 10% aggregate, Kazatomprom said.
"While the outlook for nuclear energy growth continues as strong as it has been for many years, the realities of the near-term uranium market remain in oversupply," Zhumagaliyev said. "These strategic Kazakh mineral assets are far more valuable to our shareholders and stakeholders being left in the ground for the time being, rather than adding to the current oversupply situation. Their greater value will instead be realised when produced into improved markets in the coming years."
Kazakhstan has 12% of the world's uranium resources and has been the world's leading uranium producer since 2009. Its 2015 production of 23,800 tU accounted for 39% of world production. Kazakhstan had planned to increase its production year on year to 2018.