August 29, 2008

Russia to Invest $2 Bln in Uranium Producer Priargun Mining

MOSCOW. Aug 29 (Interfax) - Russia intends to invest $2 billion in the development of Priargun Mining and Chemicals Association, the country's biggest uranium miner, Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the state Rosatom corporation, said at a ceremony to mark Priargun's 40th anniversary.

The funds would be allocated to Priargun, which is based in Krasnokamensk, Chita region, under the national program to develop the nuclear industry.

Kiriyenko said that Priargun received 1.8 billion rubles in funding last year and would get 3 billion rubles next year. "We intend to invest around $2 billion in total to refurbish Priargun in the next few years," he said.

Priargun's development is one of the key aspects of uranium industry investment policy, Kiriyenko said.

Two new mines are being built at Priargun. Kiriyenko said 1.6 billion rubles had been budgeted for Mine #6 in 2009. The first stage of the mine should go on stream in 2019 and the second stage in 2024. Projected capacity is 1 million tonnes of uranium ore per year.

Mine #8 should be built in 2011 and will produce up to 400,000 tonnes of ore per year.

A third mine, Mine #7, capacity 250,000 tpa, could be built between 2014 and 2018.

In addition, a sulfuric acid plant, capacity 180,000 tpa, should be built by the end of this year. The plant, which will be tested in October, will make Priargun self-sufficient in sulfuric acid.

The state-owned TVEL nuclear fuel corporation owns more than 80% of Priargun, which mines around 3,000 tonnes of uranium per year at the Streltsovskoye field, shipping all of this to TVEL's Chepetsky Mechanical Works.

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