ROSATOM currently ranks second in the world in terms of the mineral feedstock, and fourth from the viewpoint of uranium production output. ROSATOM’s self-sufficiency in raw material rests upon domestic uranium mining and joint venture mining elsewhere. Russia produces annually approximately 3,000 tons of uranium domestically, and some 5,000 tons in other countries. Shaft technique or borehole in-situ leaching are used in uranium mining. All Russian uranium producers are part of the mining division of ROSATOM – ‘ARMZ Uranium Holding Co.’ (JSC AtomRedMetZoloto), while non-Russian uranium mining ventures are run by ‘Uranium One’.
Russia persistently takes steps to enlarge its mineral feedstock. More efficient plants are put in operation all the time. Thus, in late 2012, a new underground mine was commissioned for the first time in 20 years in Russia, at the largest domestic uranium mining site of Priargunsky Industrial Mining and Chemical Union’ (Priargunsky), where uranium is mined by a shaft process.
‘Dalur’ and ‘Khiagda’ produce uranium by in situ recovery (ISR) method.
Unlike the traditional extraction method (extracting ore from the subsoil, its shattering and processing) with ISR uranium ore remains in place. Leaching reagent is pumped through the ore via well system, followed by extracting of the uranium-containing solution to the surface, where it is subsequently processed to obtain the final product, yellow cake or triuranium octoxide. When using ISR the surface remains almost intact, there is no tailings or waste rock and the groundwater condition restores to its initial state. This method is much more economically efficient and environmentally preferable as compared to open-pit or underground uranium mining method.
‘Khiagda’ resource potential is sufficient to keep it running for 100 years. Uranium output is expected to grow in near future to reach 1000 tons per year, with potential further expansion.
Uranium One, a ROSATOM global mining company, is a TOP 5 global uranium producer, with a diverse portfolio of assets in Kazakhstan, USA and Tanzania. The company produces 4900 tons of uranium annually and export it to countries of Asia, North America and Europe. Today the company enjoys the lowest production cost of natural uranium. All uranium is produced by environmentally safe in-situ recovery (ISR) mining technology. As a clean energy leader, Uranium One is committed to the highest environmental standards, the health and safety of its employers and the long-term sustainability of the communities in which it operates.