Mining at Russia’s Istochnoye and Vershinnoye uranium deposits is expected to begin in 2016 and 2017, respectively, according to Russian mining company JSC Khiagda.

The company, which is managed by ARMZ, the mining division of Rosatom, says it has completed exploration operations at the sites and is now beginning preparations for mining.

At the Istochnoye deposit, JSC Khiagda is preparing to build access roads, electricity transmission lines and other infrastructure and for the start of drilling. A total of 5000 wells are planned for the site, with 127 due to be drilled before the end of 2015. Mining operations are expected to start in 2016.

In parallel, JSC Khaigda is getting ready to mine the Vershinnoye deposit, which has approved resources of 4577 tons of uranium. Engineering surveys are currently being carried out, with drilling of the first 92 wells expected to begin next year. Drilling will continue in 2016-2017, with construction of roads, transmission lines and other infrastructure. Mining of Vershinnoye deposit will start in 2017 and is intended to continue for more than 20 years.

Both deposits are located within the Khiagdinskoye Ore Field, which ARMZ says could become the centre of the uranium mining industry in Russia in the ‘near future’

"On the whole, the potential of Vitimskoye Uranium Ore Region is estimated at over 300,000 tons of uranium and new deposits may be expected within the region’s boundaries," said Alexei Dementiev, CEO of JSC Khiagda.