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Kazakhstan, Russia Inaugurate Joint Uranium Venture

December 7, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Kazakh Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov today inaugurated a joint venture that was set up to extract uranium for further processing in Russia.

An official news report posted on the Kazakh government's website says the ceremony in southern Kazakhstan coincided with the production of the first ton of ore by the Zarechnoye joint venture.

Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's atomic-energy agency, Rosatom, also attended the inauguration.

Kiriyenko said Kazakhstan and Russia hope to lead "the world's nuclear market."

The Zarechnoye mine is expected to produce 1,000 tons of uranium a year by 2009. Officials say the development of four additional nearby deposits will eventually bring the joint venture's total annual output to 6,000 tons.

Kazakhstan is the world's third-largest uranium producer, after Australia and Canada.

(with material from Kazinform, Kazakhstan Today, Interfax, and RIA Novosti)

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