Kazakhstan's national atomic company Kazatomprom and US company ConverDyn have signed an agreement on cooperation in marketing uranium product. The document, signed by heads of companies Askar Zhumagaliev and Malcolm Critchley, "provides a framework to jointly offer uranium in the form of natural uranium hexafluoride ("UF6") to global utilities", according to a 4 April NAC Kazatomprom statement.
The merger of capabilities "will pay dividends for both companies", Zhumangaliev said. In particular, Kazatomprom will have "the opportunity to access new markets with a further integrated product offering". Critchley noted that Kazatomprom is a large supplier of uranium concentrate to its Metropolis conversion plant. "By combining our products and expertise we will add value and increased supply options to our customers," he said. He added that the two companies' capabilities and objectives were "perfectly aligned and complementary".
Kazakhstan has 12% of the world's uranium resources and an expanding mining sector, producing about 23,800t in 2015, and planning for further increase to 2018. In 2009 Kazatomprom became the world's leading uranium producer - after Canadian Cameco and French Areva - with almost 28% of world production. For comparison, Canada and Australia accounted for 16% and 11%.
In 2010, Kazakhstan accounted for 33% of world uranium production, which rose to 41% in 2014.
Kazatomprom controls all of Kazakhstan's uranium exploration and mining as well as other nuclear-related activities, including imports and exports of nuclear materials. It announced in 2008 that it aims to supply 30% of the world uranium by 2015, and through joint ventures: 12% of uranium conversion market, 6% of enrichment, and 30% of the fuel fabrication market by then. Kazatomprom has more than 27,000 employees.