Russian uranium mining company Atomredmetzoloto (ARMZ) has said it intends to set up a joint uranium prospecting and mining venture with French nuclear company Areva. Meanwhile, its Lunnoye subsidiary is to build a new uranium processing plant in Siberia.
According to ARMZ, its latest announcement follows on from a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed with Areva in December 2007 on establishing a joint venture to prospect for and mine uranium in promising areas in Russia and Africa. ARMZ is part of Atomenergoprom, itself part of Russian state power corporation Rosatom.
ARMZ also said in its statement that it has established "partner relations" for investment projects for uranium prospecting and mining with Mitsui of Japan, and is working to develop cooperation on uranium prospecting and development with LG International of South Korea. It has also recently been involved in setting up uranium joint ventures in Armenia and Namibia, and holds 49.33% of the Zarechnoye uranium project in Kazakhstan. Including its Kazakh output, ARMZ claims to be the world's fifth largest uranium producing company, with plans to triple its uranium output in Russia and Kazakhstan to over 10,000 tonnes by 2015.
New Siberian refinery
ARMZ subsidiary Lunnoye has announced it is to build a new uranium and gold processing plant in Yakutia in north-eastern Siberia. The plant, which would have an annual capacity of 120 tonnes of uranium and 1.5 tonnes of gold, is scheduled to start gold production in 2009 with full capacity, including uranium production, slated for 2011.
The Elkon area of southern Yakutia has reported resources of 320,000 tU in eight deposits including Lunnoye.