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The joint venture between Orano Mining, a French company holding 51% of the shares, and Kazakhstani company Kazatomprom, holding 49% of the shares, known as KATCO, has announced its plans to commence operations at the South Tortkuduk uranium deposit in Kazakhstan by the end of 2023.

According to Gwenaël Thomas, the spokesperson for the company, this information was shared on Wednesday and reported by Trend. He stated that the agreement for this development was reflected in an amendment to the existing subsoil use contract in August 2022. The commencement of operations at the South Tortkuduk deposit is expected to secure uranium extraction for KATCO for a period of approximately fifteen years.

Thomas further highlighted additional agreements that have been reached between Kazakhstan and Orano. He mentioned that in November 2022, during the visit of Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to France, Orano and Kazatomprom signed a memorandum of cooperation. Through this memorandum, the two companies express their intention to support and strengthen their collaboration in the uranium mining industry, building upon their existing successful partnership.

Thomas explained that the memorandum includes various collaborative initiatives, such as the implementation of a joint roadmap for technical research and development, exploring solutions to address carbon emissions resulting from the companies’ activities, and laying the foundation for discussions on the long-term development of their partnership.

Established in 1996, KATCO was formed to develop and operate uranium deposits in Muynakum and Tortkuduk, located in the Turkestan region, approximately 300 kilometers north of Shymkent. Currently, the company employs around 1,200 individuals and operates an In-Situ Recovery (ISR) mine with an annual capacity of approximately 4,000 tons of uranium. Over the past 20 years, the operation of these two deposits has enabled KATCO to extract over 40,000 tons of uranium.