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The Stepnogorsk Sulfuric Acid Plant (SSAP), 90.11% owned by Samruk-Kazyna’s subsidiary, with the remaining 9.89% belonging to Kazatomprom (another Samruk-Kazyna subsidiary), intends to double its capacity to 360,000 tons per year of sulfuric acid, required by Kazatomprom, and increase sulfur purchases from Tengizchevroil, the main supplier of the product to the plant. The implementation of the proposed activity – the construction of the second line of the sulfuric acid plant – will lead to an increase in the production capacity of the enterprise, producing technical sulfuric acid, from 180,000 tons to 360,000 tons per year, according to materials for public hearings on the project’s second phase, scheduled for April 30. As indicated on the plant’s website, the main sulfur supplier for the enterprise is the Tengiz oil field operator – Tengizchevroil, which stores sulfur in large volumes. Accordingly, with the launch of the second phase, the plant will double its sulfur purchases necessary for sulfuric acid production. The main product of the plant is technical sulfuric acid of the first grade according to GOST 2184-2013 with a concentration of 92.5–94%. The project also includes the possibility of obtaining acid with a concentration of 98.5% (without additional dilution). By-products of production include electrical and thermal energy. Construction and installation work is planned to be carried out around the clock in 2024-2025, and the launch of the second phase into operation is scheduled for 2026. The second phase will produce sulfuric acid around the clock for 345 days a year. The plant fully meets its own needs for thermal and electrical energy. According to materials for public hearings, the production of sulfuric acid from the second phase will provide the plant with about 30–40 MW of electricity through the generation of superheated steam. At the same time, the plant annually concludes a contract for the supply of electricity with Stepnogorskenergosbyt. The main equipment supplier will be the Italian company Desmet Ballestras.p.a., and the main technological equipment manufacturer will be the Kazakhstani company “Belkamit”. The second phase will be built within the boundaries of the existing plant, which will not cease its operation during production expansion. The sulfuric acid plant is located in the industrial zone of the city of Stepnogorsk in the Akmola region. The nearest settlements are Zavodskoye village – three km away – and the city of Stepnogorsk – 18 km away. The nearest railway stations are AltynTau – 10 km away and Ermantau – 130 km away. The plant has been operating at its full capacity since 2021 against the backdrop of sulfuric acid shortages in Kazakhstan, which is needed for uranium mining. In January, Kazatomprom announced an expected adjustment to its production plan for 2024 due to difficulties in sulfuric acid supplies, which is a key component in uranium mining. A plant for the production of 800,000 tons of sulfuric acid will be built by 2026 in the Turkestan region using the Italian Balestra technology, announced Nurlan Zhakupov, Chairman of the Management Board of Samruk-Kazyna. It is worth noting that Baurzhan Ibraev, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the British New Nuclear Watch Institute (NNWI) for Central Asia, who had been a member of the Board of Directors and Chief Production and Nuclear Fuel Cycle Director of Kazatomprom for several years, expressed his opinion to journalists at a seminar on atomic energy in December 2023 that increasing uranium production in Kazakhstan in the coming years, according to the plans announced by Kazatomprom and its affiliated joint ventures, will require about 3 million tons of sulfuric acid annually. “For acid, we will need – today we consume about 2.2 million tons. If we want to fulfill the announced plans, probably, we will need no less than 3 million tons. Unfortunately, Kazakhstan today does not produce so much… At one time, production capacities in Kazakhstan were around 3.6 million tons, but this does not mean that they produced so much. I don’t know how much everyone produces today, but I know that today Kazatomprom does not satisfy its acid needs,” he said. According to his estimates, Kazatomprom’s joint ventures purchased sulfuric acid at a price of $130 per ton. Expenditures on this key component, used in uranium mining by the method of underground in-situ leaching as a chemical reagent, accounted for about 30–40% of the total cost of uranium in Kazakhstan. However, even now, before the increase in production volumes by Kazatomprom, there is a sulfuric acid deficit in Kazakhstan, Ibraev noted. In contrast to this, uranium enterprises in Uzbekistan, according to him, receive sulfuric acid at $30 per ton.