The Rožná uranium mine in the Czech Republic will continue operations until mid-2017, Czech minister of commerce and industry Jan Mládek said during a visit to the mine in Dolni Rozinka last week.
"I want to state clearly that we want to maintain uranium mining for at least two more years, and at the same time we are looking for other options for the development of the company so as not to jeopardize employment in the region," Mládek said in a ministry statement on 7 August.
Czech uranium mining, which once provided over 2500 tonnes of uranium (tU) per year, declined rapidly from 1990 following the collapse of the Communist government. A total of 110,427 tU was produced between 1946 and 2008. By 1994, Czech production had fallen to 600 tU/yr, and through the last decade production has declined steadily to 228 tU in 2012. The last underground mine – the Rožná deposit in the Dolní Rožínka locality 50 km northwest of Brno – operated by state-controlled Diamo, was due to close in 2003, but was extended due to rising uranium prices. In 2014 the mine was close to depletion and the government said Diamo would consider reopening the 1980s Brzkov mine near Jihlava which is said to contain 3000-4000 tU some 300 m deep. Diamo said it would take six to seven years to commission the mine properly.
Diamo is holding talks with one of its key customers, state-owned utility group ČEZ, on a contract extension beyond 2014. This year, a total of 150 tonnes of uranium are expected to be produced at the Rožná mine, the ministry said.
Diamo is considering the launch of uranium mining at Brzkov from 2022, the ministry said.
Tomas Rychtařík, CEO of Diamo, said in the ministry statement that the Rožná uranium deposit is the second largest in the country, after Příbram. Almost 20,000 tonnes of uranium have been extracted to date from the Rožná deposit, where reserves could enable continued mining there until 2022, Rychtařík said.
Exploratory work for an underground natural gas storage facility at the Rožná site, and construction of an underground research facility for the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority “are being finalized”, the ministry said.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News