ALMATY – Kazakhstan intends to increase its proven uranium reserves by more than 20,000 tonnes in 2012-2013.
State-owned Kazatomprom, the national leader in uranium extraction and nuclear fuel production, increased its proven reserves by 70,000 tonnes over the past three years, while mining 51,300 tonnes.
A Kazatomprom statement said the company extracted 9,600 tonnes of uranium in the first six months of this year.
“In theory, we have uranium reserves that’ll suffice for 70 years, even without any additional exploration,” Kazatomprom Management Board Deputy Chairman Sergey Yashin said.
This notwithstanding, the company thinks it “a must” to leave 1.5 tonnes of uranium in the ground for each tonne it extracts.
“With such a far-sighted approach, we’ll be able to say in 20-30 years that Kazakhstan has extracted 500,000 tonnes of uranium while proven reserves grew by at least that amount,” Yashin said.
By 2020, Kazakhstan’s proven uranium reserves will have grown by at least 180,000 tonnes. Currently the country’s proven reserves stand at 1.5m tonnes, Kazatomprom said.
“We annually invest large amounts in exploration work as a priority,” Sergei Poltoratsky, Kazatomprom project department director, said.
This year’s allocations for geological prospecting have amounted to 1.2 billion KZT (US $8.1m), he said.