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Extended session led by Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation S.E. Donskoy held on July 3
On July 3, 2014, S.E. Donskoy, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, led an extended session under the topic “Status of Works on Replacement and Use of Uranium Resource Base”.
The Russian Federation possesses a significant volume of uranium resources (the third place worldwide); however, it is only ranked sixth in terms of uranium production. This is primarily due to the fact that a major part of the mineral resource base is constituted by formations with raw and poor ores and requires costly production methods (e.g. underground mining). Augmentation of inferred uranium resources, achieved using the funds of the state budget, remains noticeably non-demanded. “Without profound re-thinking of lines of geological exploration for uranium, carried out both at the expense of the federal budget and funds of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, our country’s leadership in this area may fall into oblivion,” noted the Minister.
The 2011 accident at the Fukushima NPP entailed a slowdown in the global nuclear industry. A shift in the energy market conditions triggered the reduction of prices for natural uranium.
“Today, the most significant issues are those relating to the quality, rather than the quantity, of the mineral resource base. In order to maintain competitive advantages, the Russian uranium industry must enhance the quality of the available mineral resource base by means of conducting prospecting works. Herewith, it is necessary to focus on surveying formations, which offer ore quality and production methods allowing for economically viable development,” said S.V. Polonyankina, Director for Geology and Subsurface Management, JSC Atomredmetzoloto.
Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation understands importance of this issue and uses its own funds to finance prospecting works within Streltsovskaya caldera. Revealing new formations with high-grade ores and their commissioning will make it possible to stabilize the economic situation at Priargunsky Industrial Mining and Chemical Union. Currently, JSC PIMCU is engaged in development of residual reserves with low uranium content.
Following the session results, it was decided to update a Collaborative Action Plan for establishment of the mineral resource base and development of uranium deposits, to be pursued by the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia, the Federal Agency for Subsoil Use (Rosnedra) and Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation. Such cooperation would be helpful in solving the problem associated with quality enhancement of the uranium resource base in Russia.
The session included the participation of D.G. Khramov, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation; E.A. Kiselev, Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for Subsoil Use; A.M. Lokshin, First Deputy Director General of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation; and V.N. Verkhovtsev, Director General of JSC Atomredmetzoloto, along with representatives from the Federal Agency for Subsoil Use (Rosnedra); the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources Management (Rosprirodnadzor); the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation (Minenergo); the Ministry for Development of Russian Far East (Minvostokrazvitiya); the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia (Minpromtorg); the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as from scientific and research, design and production geological exploration organizations.