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CGN deepens ties with Kazakhstan

By Zheng Xin | China Daily Europe | Updated: 2017-05-14 10:30

Uranium subsidiary of China's largest nuclear operator is eyeing Belt and Road opportunities

The uranium subsidiary of China General Nuclear Power Corp, the country's largest nuclear operator, is looking to expand nuclear fuel supply deals with Kazakhstan, including uranium exploration, trade, nuclear fuel pellets and component processing.

It has also vowed to further explore the high-tech component-processing field, and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Belt and Road Initiative.

According to Yu Zhiping, general manager of the company's uranium subsidiary CGN Uranium Resources Co Ltd, the nuclear fuel fabrication plant in Kazakhstan, a joint venture between KazAtomProm and CGN, is under construction and on schedule, and is expected to be operational by 2019.

"The fuel will be supplied mostly to CGN projects at home and abroad. China and Kazakhstan will seek third party markets as well," Yu said at a news conference in Beijing on May 9.

"The fuel will also be supplied to Kazakhstan's planned nuclear plant, and in the expansion of cooperation with Kazakhstan in both uranium production and fuel assembly."

Being the first uranium mining project invested overseas, the Semizbay mine project in Kazakhstan has not only helped secure CGN's uranium assets abroad, but also helped the company gain experience in the operation and management of uranium overseas, said Yu.

According to Tan Jiansheng, CGN's vice-general manager, CGN has business in 20 countries, and revenue from overseas accounts for more than 20 percent of its total.

Kazakhstan is the world's leading uranium producer, accounting for 39 percent of output in 2015, and KazAtomProm has said it aims to supply up to one-third of the world fuel fabrication market by 2030.

CGN has been seeking more uranium resources globally, and has secured uranium projects in countries such as Namibia, Kazakhstan and Australia.

Last year, CGN paid $63.78 million for a nearly 20 percent stake in Canada's Fission Uranium Corp.

A report on China's power utilities M&A trends, by Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Joseph Jacobelli and Charles Shum, revealed that domestic and overseas M&As by Chinese electric power utilities are expected to accelerate in the next few quarters, thanks to financial strength and policy support.

CGN, China's leading listed power developer by market value, has also been focusing on uranium assets in Australia, it said.

According to Jacobelli, many businesses are keen to invest overseas, motivated in part by China's national power glut, the result of new capacity outstripping demand.

"Being the world's fifth-largest nuclear operator, CGN has witnessed impressive performances in nuclear power, nuclear fuel, nuclear power station digital instrument control and clean energy sectors taking advantage of the Belt and Road Initiative," Tan says.

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