ISL uranium mine opens in Kazakhstan

27 April 2009

On 24 April, prime minister of Kazakhstan, Karim Masimov opened an in situ leach uranium mine in the country.

The Khorassan-1 mine – part of the Khorassan North deposit located in Kyzylorda region of Kazakhstan – has estimated reserves of 21,000 tonnes of uranium. This year the mine is expected to produce 180tU, with its production rising to reach a capacity of 3000tU/y in 2014.

Production from the mine is mainly intended to supply the Japanese nuclear power generation industry. It will be operated by the Kyzylkum joint venture comprising Kazatomprom, Uranium One and a consortium of Japanese power companies (TEPCO, Marubeni Corp., Toshiba Corporation, Chubu Electric, Tohoku Electric and Kyushu Electric).

Khorassan-1 has taken three years to build and, so far, total investment in the project has reached more than $432 million, with 13% of this ($58 million) spent on infrastructure.

Kazakhstan is one of the world’s leading producers of uranium, after Australia and Canada, which account for half of annual production. Last year Kazakhstan produced 8521tU and it plans to increase production in 2009 up to 11,900tU.

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