* Company has met foreign firms in past two weeks
* It says all output, export supplies according to plan
(Adds Uranium One share reaction)
By Maria Golovnina
ALMATY, June 12 Kazakh state uranium firm
Kazatomprom assured foreign partners on Friday it would honour
all existing agreements after the arrest of its former chief
caused uncertainty over supplies of the nuclear fuel.
Investors in Kazakhstan, which has a fifth of the world's
uranium reserves and is expected to become the world's top
producer this year, were rattled last month when security agents
detained Mukhtar Dzhakishev and other industry executives.
In a statement on Friday, state-controlled Kazatomprom said
it held talks with foreign companies including Canada's Uranium
One over the last two weeks.
"During those meetings, (our) partners stressed the
strategic nature of our mutually beneficial relationship and
their aspiration to continue cooperating in the nuclear sector,"
"Kazatomprom for its part declared that none of the existing
agreements would be changed. ... All production plans are being
carried out on time. All export supplies are being carried out
according to plan."
Uranium One shares in Toronto rose following Kazakhstan's
Kazatomprom's partners also include major global players
Toshiba Corporation, TEPCO and Chubu Electric, which have teamed
up with it to tap major uranium fields in the steppes of
Widespread interest in nuclear power, stimulated by worries
over carbon emissions and high prices of fossil fuels, have
raised the importance of Kazakhstan's uranium resources.
Dzhakishev, sacked from the post of Kazatomprom president
shortly before his arrest in late May, is accused of illegally
gaining control over 60 percent of Kazakhstan's uranium
resources. For a FACTBOX please see
He could not be reached for comment and his wife, who has
accused the authorities of not allowing her to meet her husband,
has said the allegations against him were fabricated. The KNB
security service has quoted him as denying any wrongdoing.
Dzhakishev made Kazatomprom a global player and signed most
cooperation deals with foreign companies.
The country on the Caspian Sea, which has major oil and gas
reserves, has long been praised for economic and political
stability but Dzhakishev's arrest has stirred long-standing
divisions within the ruling and business elites.
Addressing a meeting with foreign investors separately on
Friday, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev did not touch on
the case but said his nation was committed to law and justice.
"I would like to emphasise to you -- Kazakhstan was and
remains committed to the principle of a market economy, the
protection of the rights of private ownership and the
independence of signed contracts," he said.
Government officials could not be reached for comment this
week. The new Kazatomprom boss, Vladimir Shkolnik, and the
government have not publicly commented on the case.
Kazatomprom Vice President Sergei Yashin separately told
reporters foreign companies had shown willingness to keep
working in Kazakhstan.
"All of our strategic partners have visited us over the past
two weeks ... and we have discussed the problem, the issue which
has today risen around Kazatomprom," he said.
"I can say that all companies confirmed that they will work
in Kazakhstan, that they will work with Kazatomprom, that all
the programmes we had agreed on will continue to be developed."
Kazakhstan produced 8,521 tonnes of uranium last year, up
from 6,637 in 2007. It plans to raise output to 12,200 to 12,300
tonnes this year.
(Writing by Maria Golovnina; additional reporting by Sabina
Zawadzki in Kostanai, Olga Orininskaya in Almaty; Editing by