Uzbekistan signs U supply deals with Japanese firms

08 January 2020

Uzbekistan has signed contracts worth more than USD1 billion for the supply of uranium to Japan, reported yesterday, without stating its source. The contracts were signed as part of the December visit of the president of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, to Japan.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in December 2019 (Image: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan)

According to, the largest contract, for USD636.4 million, was reached with Itochu, and another one was signed with Marubeni and is worth USD510.1 million. Shipment will be met by Uzbekistan's Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combine (NMMC) between 2023 and 2030. Itochu and Marubeni are both sogo shosha, the Japanese term for general trading company.

In an undated statement, Itochu said it had signed a "long-term, large-scale" uranium concentrate purchase agreement with NMMC. "Through initiatives like this, we remain greatly committed to the stable supply of nuclear fuel to Japan," Itochu said.

In 2017, Uzbekistan signed a seven-year contract for the supply of uranium to the USA for USD300 million, and last year a long-term contract for the export of Uzbek uranium was signed with India.

According to the 2018 Red Book - a reference on uranium jointly prepared by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency - Uzbekistan has 57,600 tU in reasonably assured recoverable resources and 81,500 tU inferred recoverable resources to USD130/kg U in sandstones, plus 32,900 tU in black shales. The latter have so far not supported commercial production, and foreign expertise is being sought for them.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News