Uranium Mineral Mining in Kazakhstan

Ale Navarro Goldaraz
April 27, 2018

Submitted as coursework for PH241, Stanford University, Winter 2018

Background Information

Fig. 1: Map showing location of Kazahstan. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Republic of Kazakhstan, located in Central Asia (Fig. 1), is a large, landlocked nation with vast energy resources. Some of its main exports are: oil, natural gas and mineral resources, including, but not limited to, Uranium. [1]

Kazakhstan holds one of the greatest Uranium deposits in the world, making it a key player in the Nuclear Energy Sector. As of 2018, the country holds the top position on the Uranium production ranking, due to the high exploitation of its mineral resources. In 2016 Kazakhstan had its most plentiful production year, racking in an astonishing 24,000 tU (tons Uranium), which is 1.7 percent more than the amount produced in 2015. [2]

Commitment to Cutting

In the past few years, Kazakhstan has committed to cutting down the total amount of Uranium produced. Its efforts have already yielded results, reducing the total Uranium production by 2000 tU in 2017, which is about 3% of the total global output. The largest Uranium extraction company in Kazakhstan is Kazatomprom. At the start of 2017, this large national company decided to reduce Uranium production to restore the global price of Uranium. In the past years, the price of Uranium products, including but not limited to Uranium pellets (Fig. 2) have decreased almost 47 percent. [2]

Fig. 2: Uranium pellets. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev made a statement on the issue, claiming: These strategic [uranium] assets are far more valuable to our shareholders and stakeholders being left in the ground for the time being, rather than adding to the current oversupply situation. That is to say, further extraction would only increase the supply of Uranium ore to the world while the demand has not been up to par. Decreasing the total amount of Uranium extracted would stabilize the price, or at least prevent it from continuously decreasing at the same rate, as the same amount of demand would have to be met by a smaller total supply. [3]

Impact of Change

This new change is supposed to be highly beneficial for all parties involved with Uranium extraction. Plenty analysts have pronounced the move a game changer, predicting a recovered strength to the whole space promptly. Many attributed the fall of the commodity price of Uranium ore, at least in part, to the overexploitation of mineral resources. Kazatomprom's relentless increases in production over the years was one of the top causes for uranium price weakness. [1]

Moreover, the country's Ministry of Industry and New Technologies has issued a statement saying: We, as responsible big producers, should monitor the situation, because it is easy to drop prices and bring damage to ourselves and our partners. So, you have to be careful. That goes to say, the intentional momentary decrease in ore production has the purpose of fabricating a more stable situation for the Uranium market in the future. [3]

© Ale Navarro Goldaraz. The author warrants that the work is the author's own and that Stanford University provided no input other than typesetting and referencing guidelines. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] R. Hoyle, "Uranium Price Jumps as Top Supplier Pulls Back," Wall Street Journal, 11 Jan 17.

[2] "Las Reservas de Uranio Crecen y Garantizan la Demanda Actual Durante un Siglo," El País, 26 Jul 12.

[3] H. Sanderson,"Kazatomprom to Slash Uranium Output by 20%," Financial Times, 4 Dec 17..