Mohamed Eslami, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) has inaugurated the Narygan Mining & Industrial Complex in Yazd province. He said it is Iran’s largest uranium-molybdenum mine. Fars news agency cited him as saying the uranium from Narygan will be sent to Isfahan for "processing and fabrication into nuclear fuel. He said the mine is estimated to hold 650 tons of uranium metal and 4,600 tons of molybdenum metal as definitive and probable reserves.

According to the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) joint report on uranium resources, production and demand (Red Book), Iran has 4,316 tU of reasonably assured uranium resources and 5,535 tU of inferred resources. A 50 tU a year plant to process uranium ore from the Saghand underground mine in Yazd began operations near Ardakan in 2017. A 21 tU a year uranium plant at Bandar Abbas operated from 2006-2916, processing ore from the Gachin deposit in Hormozgan province.

The uranium conversion plant (UCF) at the Isfahan Nuclear Technology Centre that began operation in 2004 has a capacity of 200 tons/year. Isfahan aksi hosts the Enriched uranium dioxide (UO2) Powder Plant (EUPP) commissioned in 2014 to convert uranium hexaflouoride (UF6) to UO2. An adjacent fuel fabrication plant has been operational since 2012.

Exploration activities at the Narygan mine in Yazd province, 35 km from Bafaq city, took place between 1995 to 2003, according to AEOI. Six uranium anomalies were identified. Exploratory boreholes with a total length of more than 70,000 metres were drilled and modelling followed. From 2013 to 2015 studies were undertaken for the design and equipping of mine. These included production planning, gas studies, geomechanics, hydrogeology and factory mechanisation as well as the design and implementation of access roads and studies for the construction of a water diversion canal.

Image: Inauguration of operations at Narigan (courtesy of AEOI)