Russia-Mongolia uranium agreement signed

11 April 2008

Russia and Mongolia have signed an agreement to cooperate in the production of Mongolian uranium. Prime minister Sanjaa Bayar also told journalists that his country is interested in building a nuclear power plant with Russian help.


According to reports, the agreement signed during a visit by Bayar to Moscow comprises a plan of joint actions whereby Russian specialists would assist in the uranium exploration, extraction and processing in Mongolia. OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and International Atomic Agency figures show Mongolia's 'reasonably assured' uranium resources are currently estimated at some 46,000 tonnes, but Sergei Kiryenko, head of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, was upbeat about the possibility the country could have much more. "I think they are more than officially registered, over 100,000 tonnes," he said.


The headframe at Gurvanbulag
Russia's state-owned uranium mining enterprise, UGRK, announced a year ago that it was planning to develop uranium deposits at Erde in Mongolia, but Russia is not the only country interested in tapping into Mongolia's uranium reserves. Canadian-based Western Prospector Group is carrying out a feasibility study as part of its mine development program at Gurvanbulag, as well as an exploration program to expand known uranium deposits and prospect for additional uranium deposits. Denison, another Canadian company, has long-standing interests in Mongolian deposits and China Nuclear Energy Industry Corp last year entered into an agreement to explore and develop uranium resources in Mongolia with a Hong Kong-based property investment company.


In the wake of the intergovernmental talks Bayar reiterated that Mongolia is interested in building small- and medium-capacity nuclear power plants with Russia's help. In advance of the meetings, Kiryenko said that Russia is currently carrying out a feasibility study into such a project.