A new uranium development project in southern Kazakhstan is to include Toshiba Corp.

Promoted by Kazatomprom (KAP), a Kazakhstan state-owned enterprise, test excavation of uranium ore is due to start within the year, and output is expected to reach approximately 5000 tonnes of uranium a year by 2014.

The Kharassan uranium mines project is being promoted by two KAP-related companies, Kyzylkum and Baiken-U and Toshiba will acquire an indirect ownership interest in the companies by taking a 22.5% stake in a holding company – jointly owned by Marubeni Corp, Tokyo Electric Power Co, Chubu Electric Power Co, and Tohoku Electric Power Co – that has part ownership and control.

The move will give Toshiba the right to a maximum of 600 tonnes from the Kharassan project each year. Japanese companies have acquired indirect ownership interests in Kyzylkum and Baiken-U and will have the right to acquire up to an aggregate annual quantity of 2000 tonnes.

Toshiba has also signed a share-transfer agreement with uranium supply company Kazatomprom, under which Kazatomprom will become an indirect minority shareholder in Westinghouse.

Under the terms of the deal Toshiba will transfer 10% ownership of Westinghouse’s holding companies to Kazatomprom, at a price of $540 million. Toshiba will continue to control Westinghouse, owning 67% through holding companies.

Toshiba and Kazatomprom plan to transfer these shares in about a month, upon completion of necessary regulatory procedures in the relevant countries.

Japan and Kazakhstan signed a memorandum of c-ooperation in nuclear power in August 2006.