Kazatomprom establishes joint venture with Japanese company

Kazatomprom establishes joint venture with Japanese company

Kazakhstan, Astana, March 24 / Trend S. Suleymanov /

March 24, 2010, National Atomic Company Kazatomprom and Sumitomo Corporation (Japan) have signed a constituent document related to establishment of the Joint Venture 'Summit Atom Rare Earth Company' (SARECO) in the field of rare and rare-earth metals (RM & REM).

SARECO establishment has become a practical materialization of the order of Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan in accordance with the results of his visit to Japan in 2008. 

For Kazakhstan the development of rare and rare-earth metal deposits and production operations on RM and REM basis is the new profile of industrial and innovation development of the country which will lead to setting up in the country of high-technology high-value added products manufacturing and ensure to take its own niche at the emerging REM market.

The ceremony of signing of the constituent documents was hold in Tokyo in the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. This document was signed by Mr.Vladimir Shkolnik, Chairman of the Board of Kazatomprom on the part of Kazakhstan and Mr. Susumu Kato, President of Sumitomo Corporation on the part of Japan. Mr.Kanat Saudabayev, Secretary of State - Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Mr.Masayuki Naoshima, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan attended this ceremony.

Kazatomprom will own 51 percent of JV being established, Sumitomo Corporation - 49 percent. SARECO principal office will be in Ust-Kamenogorsk (Kazakhstan).

The JV will be aimed at building up of vertically integrated company for manufacturing of rare-earth higher value added products.

At the initial stage SARECO will be engaged in the development of Feasibility Study (FS) of rare and rare-earth metals manufacturing. The Project provides for construction and commissioning of mining and processing complex, hydrometallurgical production of REM bulk concentrates, chemical production operations for REM separation into individual metal oxides. Uranium tailing ponds, uranium ores in-situ leaching solutions and mineral deposits of rare-earth metals will be used as potential sources of rare and rare-earth compounds and metals.

Besides, new JV will deal with export and sale of finished product.

It is expected that Summit Atom Rare Earth Company will start its operations already in June, 2010.

Establishment of SARECO was preceded by 'Memorandum of Understanding and Mutually Beneficial Cooperation under the Project for rare earth metals development in the Republic of Kazakhstan' between Japanese Sumitomo Corporation and JOGMEC, as well as by the 'Agreement related to general provisions of joint activity for development of Feasibility Study of rare-earth metals manufacturing' with Sumitomo Corporation. Both these documents were signed on October 22, 2009, in Astana within the framework of the tenth joint meeting of Kazakh-Japanese and Japan-Kazakh committees of economical cooperation.

Today Japan is the largest worldwide importer of rare-earth metals. The new line of cooperation with Kazakhstan plays an important role in diversification of rare-earth element supply to the domestic market of Japan.

Rare and rare-earth elements are the basis for manufacturing of high-technology products. They are widely used in various branches of technology: radio electronics, instrumentation, nuclear engineering, machinery, chemical industry, metallurgy, etc. Rare-earth elements are included as a compound of special purpose glasses, besides rare-earth element single-crystalline compounds are used for producing of laser and other optical active and nonlinear elements in optoelectronics and in the manufacturing of rechargeable batteries for automobile construction (electromotive cars).

Sumitomo Corporation is one of the largest trading companies of Japan founded in 1919. Sumitomo's network of trade outlets are in 69 countries of the world and it links about 40 000 employees. The sphere of Sumitomo's activity includes metals, transport, construction sector, infrastructure, media market and retail sales, chemistry and electronics, mineral resources and power generation, real estate, finances and logistics. Sumitomo Corporation has extensive experience in implementation of large-scale Projects in Kazakhstan. At the territory of South Kazakhstan APPAK Joint Venture established by Kazatomprom jointly with Sumitomo Corporation and Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. is operating beginning from 2006. APPAK is dealing with development of West Mynkuduk uranium deposit. 

Kazatomprom is the national operator of the Republic of Kazakhstan for export of uranium and its compounds, rare metals, nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants, special purpose equipment, technologies and double-use materials. The main activities of the company are: geological exploration, uranium production, manufacture of nuclear fuel cycle products, reactor construction, nuclear power plants, production of construction materials, the electric energy sector, scientific support of production and social welfare and training of personnel. Today Kazatomprom has more than 26,000 employees and is amongst the leading uranium production companies in the world.

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