Uzbekistan's Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combine (NMMC) plans to modernize and expand its production and refining capacities, including those for uranium, according to Trend Capital. A program to upgrade the state-owned company's production and processing capabilities up to 2012 was decreed by the country's president in August 2007. Kuvandik Sanakulov, NMMC's director general, said that the company will "put into exploitation new uranium fields over subsequent years." He added, "The complex will increase mining and production of uranium oxide through the development of underground leaching of ore deposits." Sanakulov noted that, in line with NMMC's production development program, the first steps had been taken to develop the new Northern Kanimehk deposit. Drilling and the construction of geotechnological wells will start this summer. Germany's Nukem issued a $14 million loan to NMMC to upgrade its equipment. "The expansion of existing uranium production and refining capacities and the development of new mines through the investment of $165 million will help raise uranium output and export by one-and-a-half times," according to Sanakulov. According to the State Committee for Geology and Mineral Resources, Uzbekistan produced some 2270 tonnes of uranium in 2007.