2007

Participation in Uranium Mine Projects in the Republic of Kazakhstan

Apr. 24. 2007
Marubeni Corporation、The Tokyo Electric Power Company, Incorporated、Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc.


Marubeni Corporation (Marubeni), The Tokyo Electric Power Company, Incorporated (TEPCO) and Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. (Chubu) (hereinafter, the COMPANIES) have decided to participate in a new uranium mine development and production project promoted by Kazatomprom (hereinafter, KAP), a state-owned nuclear fuel enterprise in the Republic of Kazakhstan.  The COMPANIES have acquired an indirect ownership interest in the project companies of Kyzylkum LLP and Baiken-U LLP through an investment in a KAP-related company which has ownership and control over Kyzylkum LLP and Baiken-U LLP?current investment ratio: Marubeni 60%, TEPCO 30%, Chubu 10%). Tohoku Electric Power Co. Inc. also has decided to participate in the project, and is planning to purchase a partial indirect ownership interest in the project companies from the COMPANIES.

This project entails the development of the Kharassan uranium mine in southern Kazakhstan (Kyzylkum LLP is developing the Kharassan-1 uranium deposit and Baiken-U LLP is developing the Kharassan-2 uranium deposit).  The project is targeting the start of test production from around 2007, with a projected ramp to a full annual production of approximately 5,000MTU (combined) by around 2014 and continued production until around 2050.  The combined potential uranium production could be over 160,000MTU (*1).  The COMPANIES have the right to obtain up to an aggregate annual quantity of 2,000MTU of the uranium concentrate produced from the two deposits.

Kazakhstan has the world’s second largest uranium reserve.  In August 2006, then-Prime Minister Koizumi, who became the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit Kazakhstan, and Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev issued a joint statement extolling the “successful materialization of significant projects in the area of exploration, development and production of uranium resources”.  This joint statement greatly contributed to the participation of the COMPANIES in this project.

The Japanese government and the Kazakhstan government plan to confirm their cooperative relationship for the smooth facilitation of this project at the government-private joint mission led by Minister Amari of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry which will be held at the end of this month.

As an alternative energy to fossil fuel as well as an effective counter-measure against global warming, Marubeni has been promoting peaceful use nuclear energy as one of its vital business areas.  Marubeni is participating in this project from the viewpoint of expanding Marubeni’s nuclear fuel cycle value chain as well as contributing to energy security in Japan.

From the perspective of the stability and economy of nuclear power generation, TEPCO considers it an important task to secure a stable and long-term supply of uranium.  Up until now TEPCO has entered into long-term uranium supply contracts with uranium suppliers in Canada and Australia, but it views its participation in this project as a way to further diversify and stabilize its long-term uranium supply.

Chubu similarly considers it an important task to secure a stable and long-term supply of uranium from the perspective of the stability and economy of nuclear power generation, and views its participation in this project as a way to further diversify and stabilize its long-term uranium supply.

A part of the funds necessary for the development of this project is expected to be obtained from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) through its natural resources financing.

As for the investment by the COMPANIES to participate in the project, overseas investment insurance from Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) has been obtained.

(*1) The potential uranium production is an estimate, and does not represent a proven recoverable reserve.

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