October 6, 2008

France’s AREVA to Launch Uranium Project in Jordan in November

France's AREVA to launch uranium project in Jordan in November

AMMAN, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- French nuclear giant AREVA is expected to embark on a uranium project in Jordan in November, officials were quoted by local daily The Jordan Times on Sunday.

Jordan Nuclear Energy Commission Chairman Khalid Touqan said AREVA will start drilling in November for the project's first phase, during which the company will identify the locations of crude uranium in the central part of the kingdom.

He added that a feasibility study will be conducted following the first phase to usher in a uranium mine, expecting actual production to start in 2012 at an annual rate of 2,000 tons.

The development came in line with an agreement signed by Jordan and AREVA last week on uranium exploration and mining in the kingdom.

The agreement provides for the establishment of a joint venture to exploit uranium in the kingdom. Moreover, it grants the exclusive right of exploring and mining uranium in the central areas of the kingdom to the newly created Jordanian-French company.

Unlike its oil-rich neighbors, Jordan lacks energy resources. It imports 95 percent of its energy consumption, which annually costs nearly a quarter of its revenue, said official data.

In January 2007, Jordan announced a civil nuclear energy program, under which a nuclear plant will be set up by 2015 and nuclear power is expected to make up 30 percent of its energy production by 2030.

It is estimated that Jordan can extract 80,000 tons of uranium from its uranic ores and the country's phosphate reserves also contain some 100,000 tons of uranium, according to the official data.

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