President calls for Uzbek exploration programme

23 May 2022

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has instructed Uzbekistan to develop a four-year uranium exploration programme, as well as transforming state mining company Navoi and training suitably qualified personnel for the country's minerals sector.

President Mirziyoyev pictured during the 19 May event (Image: President of Uzbekistan)

Mirziyoyev's instructions were issued at a 19 May briefing on projects aimed at further developing Uzbekistan's geological sector, when the president was told that 27 new uranium deposits have been discovered in Uzbekistan. According to the government-run UzA news agency, he then set the task to develop a further exploration programme for 2022-2026, to increase uranium reserves through the development of 8 new deposits and 18 "promising sites" with the use of modern drilling equipment from abroad, and the creation of a digital geological model. "Instructions" were also given regarding the transformation of the state enterprise Navoi, the involvement of foreign specialists and the improvement of technological processes.

Referring to the "steady increase" in world uranium prices, Mirziyoyev also said special attention should be paid to the processing of raw material and the creation of value-added products in new projects.

The need to increase the number of "mid-level specialists" with good geological, IT and foreign language skills was noted by the president, and such "skilled workers" are to be trained in technical schools in Zarafshan, Angren and Guzar.
Uzbekistan is already supporting the development of suitably qualified personnel to support such programmes, with the establishment in 2020 by presidential decree of the University of Geological Sciences. In addition, Navoi Mining Institute has been awarded the status of a university, and joint programmes established with the University of Pisa and Saint Petersburg Mining University.

Uzbekistan is the world’s seventh-ranking uranium supplier, according to World Nuclear Association, and was a significant source of Russian uranium supply until it gained independence in 1991. Japanese and Chinese joint ventures are active in uranium development in the country. In September 2018 an intergovernmental agreement was signed for construction by Rosatom of two VVER-1200 reactors to be commissioned about 2028, and an electricity generation strategy outlined by the Ministry of Energy in 2020 outlined envisaged 15% of the Uzbekistan's electricity coming from nuclear by 2030.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News