Stepnogorsk-based Kazakhstani-Japanese JV SARECO will start producing rare and rare earth metals in the H2 2012, Newskaz.ru reports, citing Sergei Yashin, Vice Head of KazAtomProm National Nuclear Company, as saying May 3.
On Monday Astana hosted signing of a memorandum between KazAtomProm National Nuclear Company of Kazakhstan and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (formerly The Export-Import Bank of Japan) to finance rare and rare earth metals projects.
“As far as rare and rare earth metals are concerned (…) We are constructing a facility in Stepnogorsk as part of the SARECO JV, where production of rare and rare earth metals is expected to start in the H2 2012 (…) To further develop the project, we need additional finances. The shareholders are considering a feasibility study and are about to define parameters to expand the project. The JV is with Sumitomo», Sergei Yashin elaborated.
He emphasized that the sides “haven’t agreed on the amounts and timeline (…) There is a possibility to attract long and cheap capital (…) the project envisages construction of a facility to produce individual rare metals and end products based on rare and rare earth metals (…) There are certain obligations with regards to technology transfer. We will be mastering technology to extract individual elements out of bulk concentrate (…) in future it will be a technology to manufacture end products based on rare and rare earth metals”, he said.
KazAtomProm is Kazakhstan's major exporter of uranium and its compounds, rare metals, nuclear fuel for nuclear power stations, special equipment, technologies and dual-usage materials.
In January – March 2012 the Company produced a total of 2 600 tons of uranium, 4% up against the Q1 2011. The overall uranium production in Kazakhstan for the period under review made up 4 666 tons, almost 5% up against the Q1 2011.