22 Nov 2022 16:30

Rosatom plans to start commercial mining of uranium in Tanzania in several years

SOCHI. Nov 22 (Interfax) - Russia's Rosatom state nuclear energy corporation expects to complete developing technologies in the next several years and then the start commercial mining of a uranium deposit in Tanzania, Rosatom first deputy head Kirill Komarov told reporters.

"We have launched very serious work at this deposit as of today," Komarov said, noting that even the current level of uranium prices would render it "quite profitable" to mine there.

"We believe [that Tanzania] over the next several years will go through all the phases of pre-investment," Komarov said, noting that development of all technologies is also planned. Underground leaching will be applied there, as in Namibia, Komarov explained.

"I also think that we will begin full-fledged industrial mining of the field [after this]. All the conditions for this have been fulfilled today," Komarov concluded.

As previously reported, Rosatom's Atomredmetzoloto uranium mining holding acquired Mantra Resources with its main asset in Tanzania, the Mkuju River, in the summer of 2011, and the deal was estimated then at about $1.2 billion. The asset later came under the control of Uranium One Inc. The company obtained a mining license in the spring of 2013, and approval of the operating program was obtained from Tanzania's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) in the winter of 2015. Mantra Tanzania in December 2016 submitted an application to MEMR on suspending the special mining license and project work program owing to the current conditions on the uranium market. MEMR approved suspending the work program for a year-and-a-half.

JSC Atomenergoprom has previously recognized project impairments owing to uranium prices.

The Mkuju River in Tanzania is one of the more promising uranium projects worldwide. According to Uranium One, proven and probable uranium reserves at the Mkuju River were estimated at 25,900 tonnes as on December 31, 2016, and calculated and assessed resources were nearly 48,000 tonnes of uranium, with another 10,600 tonnes being inferred reserves.