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ARMZ Uranium Holding Co. to Ensure Environmentally Safe Development at Khokhlovskoye Deposit in Kurgan Region
Dalur, JSC (subsidiary of ARMZ Uranium Holding Co.) started pilot work on the deposit in 2013. Two years later, a local sorption site was commissioned. The plans for the uranium production development were supported by residents of Shumikhinsky district at public hearings that were held in Trusilovo village in December 2018.
Development of Khokhlovskoye deposit reservoirs will allow to keep Dalur, JSC total uranium production at the current level. «Nowadays, the majority of strategic metal in the Trans-Urals is produced at Dalmatovskoye deposit in the eponymous area. According to our plans, the uranium production center of the region will begin to shift to Shumikha, and by 2021 Khokhlovskoye deposit will be operating at full capacity,» said Nikolay Poponin, Director General, Dalur, JSC. Integrated production block development at the deposit is made by RUSBURMASH, JSC (subsidiary of ARMZ Uranium Holding Co. specialized in geological exploration and drilling). This year, it is planned to carry out the production at two production blocks. Territory engineering preparation, production well construction and equipment, power supply and instrumentation system arrangement will be made there.
Six PBU-1200 drilling rigs and more than 20 units of auxiliary equipment were transported to the site. According to the work flowcharts, the site construction shall be phased. Strict quality control is carried out at each phase; finished structures are repeatedly tested for strength. All used materials are certified and comply with process and environmental standards.
A bentonite clay-based drilling fluid is used in the well drilling, it penetrates 15-30 cm into the aquifers during the borehole drilling and makes them waterproof. After the well has been cased with polyethylene pipes HDPE 110×18 and HDPE 160×18, the annulus in the range of 70-90 meters above the filter is waterproofed with cement mortar using sulfate-resistant cement PTC 1-50 GOST 1581-96. The rest of the annulus above the cementation range and up to the wellhead is filled with gel-cement mortar.
«Our company specialists are well acquainted with the geological and hydrogeological features of the Trans-Urals deposits. Considering them, they know and understand how to work as efficiently and environmentally safe as possible. This year, we successfully completed the Ready Site pilot project at Dalmatovskoye deposit; we were able to significantly reduce the costs of the mining complex construction and optimize the terms. Taking into account the positive experience in the project implementation, we will apply the best practices and solutions at Khokhlovskoye deposit,» commented Gennady Rychakov, Deputy Head of the Drilling Site Production, RUSBURMASH, JSC.
Media representatives were able to get acquainted with the environmentally friendly drilling technologies used at one of Khokhlovskoye deposit drilling sites.
Ilya Kurashov, Chief Process Engineer of RUSBURMASH, JSC, told about all stages of drilling: «The production well construction begins with the drilling rig installation. A special clay mud collection tank is arranged and then the drilling rig mast is installed. There is no pollution with construction materials, fuels and lubricants during the drilling. The production string consisting of uPVC pipes, a material resistant to corrosive media, is lowered into the drilled well. Prior to the well commissioning, several thorough leak checks are carried out, which reduces to „zero“ the possibility of any leaks. Upon the drilling work completion, the drilling rig is dismantled from the site, auxiliary equipment is taken away, the material remnants and the clay mud are removed, the site is leveled. The whole well drilling process takes about 5-6 days. After the well construction, only a small part of the production string is visible on the site. The following year, the site is full of herbs and wild flowers». A prerequisite for the well construction is compliance with Russian and international environmental and safety standards. Also, RUSBURMASH, JSC strictly conforms to the environmental safety system of the ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation, which imposes additional responsibility.
«The long-term experience and practice in production well construction and uranium deposit in-situ leaching development allow us to avoid a negative impact on the environment. Since 1979, when the Trans-Urals uranium reserves were discovered, no such impact occurred. We live here and our children will live here,» said Nikolay Poponin, Director General, Dalur, JSC.