Uzbekistan Intends to Increase Uranium Production

Uzbekistan, Tashkent, 8 July / corr. Trend T.Zhukov / The Uzbek Government plans to reconstruct and expand producing and refining capacities, as well as, subsidiary facilities for uranium production, Trend correspondent reports from Tashkent.

Kuvandik Sanakulov, general director of the state company Navoiyskiy Mining and Smelting Complex (GC NMSC), said that a Program on the upgrade, technical and technological re-equipment for the period up to 2012 was adopted in August 2007 at the Uzbek President's decree so that to increase capacities of precious metal production and export.

" Enterprise is to put into exploitation new uranium fields over subsequent years," Sanakulov said. "The complex will increase mining and production of uranium protoxide-oxide through the involving underground leaching of ore deposits in the development. Three ore enterprises produce uranium through further refinery at hydrometallurgical plant in Navoi city for NMSC. First steps have been taken to launch new Northern Kanimekh field in line with the production development program. Drilling and construction of geotechnological wells have begun in summer 2008. Nukem GMBH, a German company, organized and issued a $14mln loan to upgrade fleet of technological equipment. Expansion of operating lifting and refining capacities of uranium production and development of new mines through investing $165mln will enable to increase the production and the export of uranium by 1.5 times."

The NMSC (Navoi city) is a monopolist operator on production, enrichment and export of uranium in Uzbekistan. Furthermore, the company produces about 85% of the Uzbek gold. Uzbekistan occupies the seventh place in the world for uranium reserves and the fifth for its production, according to IAEA. At present, a total of 40 fields with uranium reserves, including 27 basic fields, have been explored in the country. The information Centre of the State Committee on geology and mineral resources of the country says that explored and estimated uranium reserves amounts to 185,800 tons. Uranium production of Uzbekistan grew by 0.5% to 2,270 tons in 2007. Uzbekistan does not have own atomic industry and all produced low-enriched uranium is exported.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]

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