KATCO, uranium mining company in Kazakhstan
(Updated April 2016)
AREVA has a presence in Kazakhstan through the KATCO joint venture.
This mining company operates the Muyunkum and Tortkuduk uranium mines in the south of the country. KATCO is the largest ISR* uranium mining site in the world.
Established in 1996, KATCO is a joint venture between AREVA (51%) and KAZATOMPROM (49%), the Kazakh state-run company responsible for uranium resources and nuclear materials. Its headquarters are in Almaty, the economic capital of the country, with sales offices in Astana and Shimkent. With more than 1,200 employees, KATCO is one of the largest employers in the Sozak district in southern Kazakhstan.
KATCO operates the Muyunkum and Tortkuduk uranium mines located about 250 km north of the regional capital Shymkent. In 2015, KATCO produced 4,109 tons of uranium.
It is the only mining site in the world to have achieved a production level of 4,000 tons of uranium per year through ISR*.
KATCO’s success is a result of the successful alliance of Kazakh experience of the ISR technique and French geological and mining knowledge:
- more than 50 advanced pieces of equipment such as the crystallization system, the country’s largest calciner, the fully automated drumming unit.
- optimized uranium extraction techniques: new techniques for exploration, revision of geological models.
- internationally recognized quality certification (ISO 17025 for the laboratory since 2013) and occupational health and safety certification (ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 in progress and planned for 2015).
Furthermore, KATCO is recognized for its social commitment to local communities, with more than 50% of its workforce coming from these communities (while 98% of its workforce are Kazakh nationals).
* In-Situ Recovery (ISR) – A mining method for extracting uranium from low-grade deposits in which the ore is dissolved by injecting a chemical solution into wells. The solution that captures the uranium is then pumped to the surface and sent to the processing plant.