Kazatomprom wants to replace metals from Africa with Kazakhstani raw materials

Business news correspondent
So far, the Ulba Metallurgical Plant is purchasing tantalum and beryllium from Africa / Collage by  Kursiv.media

The Ulba Metallurgical Plant or UMZ, a subsidiary of the Kazatomprom national company in Kazakhstan, has obtained a license for the exploration of rare metals such as tantalum, niobium and beryllium at the Karajal deposit in the Abay region.

UMZ is one of the world’s largest enterprises that processes rare metals and produces ready-to-use products. UMP is ranked second in the world in terms of beryllium production and fourth in the production of tantalum products.

According to Kazatomprom, the company wants its subsidiary to have direct access to raw materials in Kazakhstan. However, UMZ is still acquiring tantalum and beryllium from some African countries. Due to high demand in the global market, these rare metal prices are highly volatile.

«Rare and rare earth metals are crucial materials for a wide range of economic sectors, from aviation and space technology to medicine and electronics. Once new deposits are discovered and developed, our position in the global market will be strengthened and new jobs will emerge,» the national company said in a statement.

In 2023, UMZ also obtained a license for the exploration of solid useful minerals like tantalum at the Upper Irgiz deposit in the Aktobe region.

At the time, Kazatomprom’s Chairman of the Board Yerzhan Mukanov told Kursiv.media that the company could begin producing rare metal concentrates from the Upper Irgiz deposit as early as 2027. The only obstacle for the project is that local ore contains a variety of minerals, not just tantalum and requires more complex processing.

Read also