January 16, 2014

Which mines will generate Russia's expected new Uranium production ?

Russia will nearly triple its production of natural uranium in the next two years, the head of the country's state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom said Thursday. Sergei Kiriyenko said at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin that Russia had in recent years been producing some 3,000-3,200 metric tons of uranium annually. "In 2015, we will reach 8,400 tons [a year], and the prime cost will be completely different," Kiriyenko said.

It is not clear which will generate the Russian uranium.

Start of uranium production in the deposit “Budenovskoye” is 2009. Attainment of project capacity in 3000 tons by 2015 year. Assuming 50-50 joint venture then this would be 1500 tons per year in 2015 if plans are met.

AtomRedMetZoloto (ARMZ) took Uranium One private.

Russia AtomRedMetZoloto (ARMZ) is their uranium mining company and they have tended to overpromise and underdeliver. However, the big mining projects would be Elkon, Khiagda and the two joint venture project in Kazakhstan



In 2013, JSC Khiagda produced 440 tons of uranium, which is a 38% increase against the previous year's indicators.

Elkon still delayed

First production from EMMC was expected in 2015 ramping up to 1000 tU/yr in 2018, 2000 tU/yr in 2020 and 5000 tU/yr by 2024 based on the southern deposits as well as Severnoye and Zona Interesnoye. This schedule has slipped by about five years. Also, it is remote, and mining will be underground, incurring significant development costs. ARMZ and EMMC are seeking local government (Sakha) support for construction of main roads and railways to access the Elkon area, and make investment there more attractive.

ARMZ’s principal focus is development of the massive Elkon project with several mines in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) some 1200 km north-northeast of the Chita region. The Elkon project is in a mountainous region with difficult climate conditions and little infrastructure, making it a challenging undertaking. Production from metasomatite deposits is planned to ramp up to 5000 tU/yr over ten years, for RUR 90.5 billion ($3 billion), and 2020 start up is now envisaged. Elkon is set to become Russia's largest uranium mining complex, based on resources of over 270,000 tU. It will involve underground mining, radiometric sorting, milling, processing and uranium concentrate production.

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