National Atomic Company Kazatomprom on 13 January provided an update on the status of its business and operations following the recent period of unrest in Kazakhstan.
“Today, after these tragic events, our country is going through a difficult time,” said Kazatomprom CEO Mazhit Sharipov. “I am sure that with the joint efforts of our state, businesses and citizens all infrastructure facilities affected by the violence will be restored soon. The company plans to actively support the restoration efforts in the regions where Kazatomprom operates. We sincerely appreciate the support we have seen from our stakeholders during this very worrisome period. We are particularly grateful to our committed workforce, whose efforts to monitor and mitigate the related risks prevented any significant impact on the company and its operations.
He added that President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev had assured citizens and businesses that the government will meet its obligations and take all necessary measures to restore the trust of domestic and foreign investors. “This assurance is important for the global nuclear industry, as the majority of Kazatomprom’s uranium assets are operated in partnership with major international nuclear industry participants, said Sharipov. “Kazatomprom has always managed to meet customer expectations, and we have again proven ourselves to be a secure and reliable supplier despite operating in a jurisdiction of higher perceived geopolitical risk.”
Kazatomprom said that, overall, the impact of the recent events on the company’s business was minor. All assets operated without interruption thanks to lessons-learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Kazatomprom’s risk management and business continuity plans proved to be robust, with no delays or disruptions to uranium production, deliveries or sales plans. As of 13 January, internet, telecommunications and the financial services sector have returned to normal. The state of emergency, which included curfews and a ban on gatherings, has now been lifted in the West, North and Pavlodar regions.
The state of “critical terrorist threat” has been lifted countrywide, except for the city of Almaty, Zhambyl and Almaty regions, where it is expected to remain in effect until 19 January. The large-scale anti-terrorism operations, which included both Kazakh police, security and military forces, as well as support from the regional Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), has largely concluded. A withdrawal of CSTO forces has begun and is expected to be completed in the coming week. At no point were CSTO forces deployed to the vicinity of Kazatomprom’s infrastructure or operations.
The Kazakh Government resigned on 5 January and a new government was appointed and functional as of 11 January, with Alikhan Smailov as Prime Minister. Within the new government, Bolat Akchulakov, a Kazatomprom Board member representing the interests of majority shareholder Samruk-Kazyna, has been appointed Minister of Energy and will resign from the Board of Directors.
“Although the more serious near-term supply chain risks specifically related to recent events did not materialise, the pandemic-related supply chain challenges remain a concern, and may impact both production and cost expectations in 2022,” Kazatomprom said. Further updates will be provided when 2021 full-year financial results are released in March.
Cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continue to rise and Kazatomprom has reinforced existing protocols to minimise the spread by introducing PCR testing for anyone accessing the mine sites. Site administrative personnel are also now working remotely.
“Kazatomprom’s focus remains on business continuity, including the safety and security of its employees and operations. With an ongoing assessment of the situation and various investigations by government authorities now underway to determine the factors that drove the tragic civil unrest, the company will not be speculating on the potential impact of the underlying social circumstances or related geopolitical implications at this time.”