16 Oct 2009 16:47

Armenian-Russian JV to start exploring uranium fields in Armenia in 2009

YEREVAN. Oct 16 (Interfax) - The Armenian-Russian Mining Company plans to start drilling operations in Armenia in exploring uranium fields before the end of 2009, Armenian Energy and Natural Resources Minister Armen Movsisian told Interfax.

Weather in the Syuni region in southern Armenia, where the drilling is planned, is so far good enough for such operations, Movsisian said. If the company does not manage to start the drilling this year, it will do this next year, he said.

It is difficult to say so far when uranium extraction could be started in Armenia, Movsisian said. Preliminary estimates show that uranium deposits in Armenia are sufficient for refueling the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant and for exports, he said.

Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko said earlier that additional exploration of uranium fields in Armenia would be finished in 2010.

Specialists estimate uranium deposits in Armenia as varying from 10,000 to 60,000 tonnes. Uranium extracted in Armenia should be processed at an international uranium enrichment center in Russia's Angarsk.

The Armenian-Russian Mining Company was registered in Armenia on July 16, 2008. The joint venture's authorized capital is 92.241 million drams (about $300,000) divided into 300 common registered shares, each party holding 150 shares.

The Armenian-Russian Mining Company acquired a five-year license to explore uranium fields in Armenia in April 2009.