China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) is to co-invest in the construction of uranium mine No 6 at Russia's Priargunskoye Production Mining and Chemical Association (Pimcu) in Krasnokamensk.
An agreement detailing the conditions of the investment was signed on 12 March in Moscow by Vladimir Verkhovtsev, general director of ARMZ, Van Feng, chairman of the Russian-Chinese Investment Fund for Regional Development (IFRR), and Pimcu deputy general director for economics and finance, Denis Mikhailov.
Construction of the new mine will provide Russia’s nuclear industry with a stable supply of uranium. The first stage of the mine should begin operation in 2023. The total cost of the project is RUB18.5bn ($325m), and the first tranche of the funding will be RUB2.5bn.
IFRR head Rustam Temirgaliyev said IFRR and Pimcu plan to create a joint venture or management company within six months to implement the project, 49% of which will belong to IFRR. He added that IFFR’s investment in construction of the second stage of the mine in 2020-2023 would amount to about RUB14bn.
Pimcu (85% owned by ARMZ, the uranium arm of Rosatom) is Russia’s biggest uranium company with diversified mining enterprise in the Trans-Baikal Territory. It has six underground mines in the Zabaikalsky region supplying low-grade ore to a central mill near Krasnokamensk. It is currently working on 19 uranium and molybdenum-uranium deposits at the Streltsov ore field. All Pimcu’s uranium is supplied to Russia ’s domestic market. The new mine will develop higher grade operational reserves at the Argun and Zherlov deposits of the Streltsy ore field, totalling about 38,000t uranium, which is 35% of Pimcu's reserves.
"Both sides consider the project as the first step in widening cooperation," Russian presidential adviser Sergey Glazyev said. "I think that the enterprise is a breakthrough for creating mechanisms for joint investments in general."
Photo: Construction work at mine No. 6 (Credit: Rosatom)