Industrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB) has started work on its Engenho mine in Brazil's Bahia state. The company said the move was a "decisive step" towards resumption of domestic uranium production.
In a statement on 29 December, INB said it expects to have produced 73 tonnes of uranium concentrate - also known as yellow cake - within the next ten months. Work started on 22 December, two days after INB received a licence from nuclear energy commission CNEN.
INB says the Engenho site, consisting of three open-pit mines, has an estimated annual production capacity of 280-300 tonnes of uranium concentrate.
Laércio Aguiar da Rocha, INB's mineral resource director, said in the company statement that mining is scheduled to start in October. This is a first step, he added, towards making Brazil self-sufficient in uranium production. This goal includes, he said, the start-up in 2020 of the planned underground mine at Caetité, also in Bahia, and Santa Quitéria, in Ceará state.
INB announced in June last year that it expects to export its first enriched uranium under a contract signed with Argentine state company Combustibles Nuclear Argentinos SA. The agreement will see the export of four tonnes of uranium dioxide powder for use in the first fuel load for the Carem modular reactor.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News