OECD estimate of Pakistan's yellowcake production in the 1990s was ~25t per annum.Originally posted by kgoan:
Where does Pakistan get it's uranium from?
Pakistan is supposed to have it's own mines, especially at Dera Ghazi Khan, but how good are Pak mines given the current situation? i.e. If they were selling everything else, why were they *not* selling yellowcake? Because they couldn't?
One estimate by IDSA in the 1980s that the Pakistanis required ~50 tonnes of yellowcake to produce 15kgs of weapons grade uranium (enough for the chic-4 design).
Pakistan bought over 100t of yellowcake directly from the government of Niger in the early 1980s. Much of that went to fabricate fuel for Pakistan's reactors, such as the one in Karachi which the Candadians cut off supply to in the mid-1970s. Libya on the other hand bought over 1,500 tons from Niger around the same period, and much of that is suspected to have wound up in the Pakistani nuclear weapons programme.
The mines in Niger are run by the French, although the government of Niger owns a large stake and also used to market the stuff. The President of Niger once declared that he'd sell uranium to the devil if he asked. By 1986 the government of Niger was pressured in to ending its role in the direct sale of uranium, because of such unsafeguarded transactions.
Nevertheless AQ Khan's reported trips to Niger in 1998, 1999 and 2000 appear to have been to investigate the possibility of securing more yellowcake for his nuclear clients and perhaps even Pakistan itself. Attempts which as I said on a previous thread quite likely failed.
The interesting thing about the controversial documents regarding purported Iraqi attempts to purchase yellowcake from Niger is that they came from the Libyans. One reason they were of interest is because there had been repeated reports of Iraqi scientists and engineers working in Libyan labs.
Libya had been playing an interesting game for the last six or seven years, attempting to change its image (and end sanctions) while avoiding full disclosure. It is possible that they attempted some kind of pre-emptive deception, while killing a second bird with the same stone and ingratiating themselves. In some ways it might have been a foreshadowing of their incrimination of the Pakistanis in 2003.