[Interfax-Kazakhstan, Reuters, 19 October] Japan's Itochu Corp has reportedly been invited by Uzbekistan to deepen cooperation and jointly explore Uzbekistan's uranium reserves. Nariman Mavlyanov, chairman of the state committee on geology and mineral resources, said that Itochu has signed a contract with Uzbekistan to develop technology that would help develop the Rudnoye deposit. He added that Itochu could also explore three other uranium deposits in Uzbekistan. Separately, Mavlyanov said that Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) had been invited to explore a total of eleven uranium sites in Uzbekistan. "Together with JOGMEC, work is under way to study the possibility of arranging prospecting work in 11 areas where there are rich reserves of uranium-bearing black shale," Mavlyanov said at a regular joint session of an Uzbek-Japanese committee for economic cooperation. "If everything is confirmed we will create a 50-50 joint venture and will then start developing the deposits," he said. Mavlyanov noted that, on 28 April 2007, Uzbekistan and JOGMEC signed a memorandum of mutual understanding on cooperation in the field of mineral resources. Uzbekistan has significant black shale (breccia complex) deposits with an average uranium grade of between 0.06% and 0.132% U, which may be amenable to open pit mining and heap leaching. Japan and Uzbekistan agreed to cooperate in the development of Uzbekistan's uranium reserves during a visit by former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi to Uzbekistan in 2006. At the time, it was reported that Uzbekistan will begin supplying natural uranium to Japan in 2007 and that some 300 tonnes of uranium would be exported to Japan via Itochu.
Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp
WNA's Geology of Uranium Deposits information paper