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JSC Khiagda launches preparation to development of Istochnoye and Vershinnoye Fields of natural uranium in Bauntovsky District, Republic of Buryatia
“We will start with development of the Istochnoye Field, which is located in the close proximity of the main production facility and is one of the best prepared ones. It also features one of the best deposits within the Khiagdinskoye Ore Field in terms of uranium content,” says Alexey Dementiev, JSC Khiagda Director General.
In the Istochnoye Field, geological exploration and engineering survey works have been carried out and the processing programme has been prepared. The uranium reserves, amounting to 2,055 tons, have been registered at the Buryat branch of the Federal State Institution, the State Commission for Mineral Reserves.
The enterprise is currently preparing to construct roads, power transmission lines, local control network and infrastructure facilities, as well as to drill wells. Overall, more than 500 wells are to be drilled in the Istochnoye Field, of which 127 – by end of 2015. Productive solution will be processed at the local sorption unit, while saturated sorbent will be transported to the main production facility for uranium extraction.
Mining in the Istochnoye Field will commence in 2016.
“Simultaneously, we are getting ready to the development of the Vershinnoye Field with confirmed reserves amounting to 4,577 tons of uranium. This is an extremely attractive field that accumulates high-quality reserves. Moreover, the Vershinnoye Field provides for the possibility of the mineral resource base extension; therefore, we are planning to arrange its further exploration in the midterm,” continues Alexey Dementiev.
Mining operations in the Vershinnoye Field will start in 2017 and are expected to last for more than 20 years. At the moment, front-end engineering survey is being conducted. Next year, 92 process wells with the total volume of 19.5 thousand linear meters are to be drilled. In 2016–2017, drilling operations will continue along with construction of roads, power transmission lines, local control network and other infrastructure facilities.
Putting the main production facility and the sulfuric acid workshop into commercial operation enables JSC Khiagda to increase output of end products up to one thousand tons of metal per annum or even more. Ultimately, other known deposits within the Khiagdinskoye Ore Field are planned to be developed in order to ensure long-term and sustainable supply of domestically produced uranium for the needs of the national atomic industry.
According to plans of ARMZ Uranium Holding Co., which is ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation’s mining arm, the Khiagdinskoye Ore Field may become the centre of the Russian uranium mining industry in the nearest future. “On the whole, the potential of the Vitimskoye Uranium Ore Province is estimated to exceed 300 thousand tons of uranium; moreover, discovering of new deposits may reasonably be expected within the boundaries of the province. Discovery activities, commissioned by the Federal Agency for Subsoil Use of Russia, are carried out and planned to be carried out on the Amalatskaya and Antaseiskaya sites, as well as on the North Baisykhansky, Barkasunsky and Kulariktinsky sites. Should potential assessment be proved, JSC Khiagda’s industrial site will turn to be located in the centre of the richest province, and the enterprise will undoubtedly increase its production capacities,” notes Vladimir Vysotskiy, Deputy Director General for Special Projects, ARMZ Uranium Holding Co.