At the end of April, Areva chairman Anne Lauvergeon and Kazatomprom president Mukhtar Djakishev signed an agreement to launch the industrial phase of a joint uranium production project in Kazakhstan.
After three years of successful operation of a pilot uranium production plant at the Muyunkum deposit in southern Kazakhstan, Katco, their jointly-owned company (Areva 51% – Kazatomprom 49%) will now work on detailed engineering design studies followed by the construction of installations at the production site. The facility will eventually employ over 250 people.
Initial industrial production should begin by the end of 2005 and capacity will increase gradually to 1500t per year. Areva will initially market all the produced uranium.
Starting production of the deposit provided by Kazatomprom will represent an investment of approximately $90 million, financed by Areva.