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Thursday 26 March 2015

Kazakh Uranium Tycoon Dies on Visit to China


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ALMATY (Reuters) – Kazakh official Nurlan Kapparov, who led the world’s largest uranium producer died on a visit to China on Thursday, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said. “The cause of his death was cardiac arrest”, it said.

Nurlan Kapparov

Kapparov, 44, headed the Kazakh state uranium company Kazatomprom in August last year. Kazakhstan holds the world’s second-largest uranium reserves and is the largest producer of the metal.

In the 1990s Kapparov headed the state oil transporting monopoly KazTransOil and state oil and gas firm Kazakhoil. The Forbes magazine estimated his fortune at $150 mln, which put him among the 50 richest people of Kazakhstan. His business interests varied from oil and gas service and pharmaceuticals to hotels, telecommunications and banking.

Just two weeks ago, Nurlan Kapparov announced that Kazatomprom plans to increase output this year to 23,400 tU, up from 22,800 tU in 2014. Kazatomprom has retained its leading position in the global uranium mining industry, he said, providing about 40% of the world’s total uranium production. The company faces new challenges in 2015, however, in particular volatile spot uranium prices alongside an increase in uranium output, and issues related to cutting production costs, he said.

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