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Two mines of JSC PIMCU to resume uranium mining
Priargunsky Industrial Mining and Chemical Union (JSC PIMCU, a part of the control loop of ARMZ Uranium Holding Co / JSC Atomredmetzoloto) has commenced preparations to resume operations at two uranium mines – Mine No.2 and Mine No. 4.
Operations at Mine No.2 were suspended on April 1, 2014 due to the decline in world uranium prices and, as a consequence, economic inefficiency. According to PIMCU Geological Department, uranium reserves of Mine No. 2 total 11 thousand tons. " Presently technological measures that allow to minimize costs have been developed and will be implemented," - explains Sergei Shurigin, director general of PIMCU.
Mine No. 4 was closed due to depletion of reserves minable by conventional mining method. The remaining reserves total about 6 thousand tons of uranium, and are to be mined using less costly method - block in-situ leaching. The technology has been developed by JSC VNIPIpromtechnologii (engineering center of JSC Atomredmezoloto) together with JSC PIMCU, and involves acidification of ore directly in ore blocks. This eliminates the need to transport ore to the surface, thus significantly reducing the costs.
Condition monitoring and preparation of underground railways and equipment, as well as relocation of machinery will be performed at Mine No. 2 in December and January. Production is to be resumed in February 2015.
Restoration works already started on 5th horizon of Mine No.4; the mine is being lined and rail tracks are laid. A joint team has been created to perform restoration of underground workings of 3rd horizon of Mine No.4, and will commence work in the coming days. Mining operations are expected to start in March 2015, using underground heap leaching method.
It is worth mentioning that currently JSC PIMCU is mining uranium by conventional method at Mine No.1 and Mine No.8, as well as by heap leaching of off-balance wastes.