Monday, February 27, 2006

Russia needs $10 bln to meet uranium demand by 2015

Russia needs $10 bln to meet uranium demand by 2015

Russia has to invest $10 billion in uranium exploration and production to meet the domestic demand by 2015, the country's mineral resources watchdog said Monday.
Russia is currently producing 3,300 metric tons of uranium annually, or 20% of the domestic demand, said Vladimir Bavlov, deputy head of the Federal Agency for the Management of Mineral Resources.
The uranium reserves in storage facilities are likely to run out by 2015, Bavlov said. He added that a substantial 830,000-ton raw material base of uranium had been accumulated but that it was inferior in quality to that found in Canada or Austria.
Bavlov said that the program to develop the uranium sector envisioned producing 70%-75% of the uranium demand domestically by 2015 and covering the remaining 25%-30% through joint ventures with former Soviet republics and by imports.
Bavlov added that a major uranium deposit, the Elkonskoye, in East Siberia would come on-stream in 2010, with all the necessary industrial infrastructure ready for uranium and ore production.
Under the plan, the project is to yield 3,000 metric tons by 2015 and double that amount by 2020.
Bavlov also said smaller uranium ore deposits would be developed by joint ventures between his agency and the Federal Agency for Nuclear Power to maintain and increase the raw material base.
According to the agency, 720 million rubles ($25.6 million) will be allocated for uranium production in 2006 against 485 million ($17.2 million) in 2005. In 2007, budget investment in the uranium sector will rise to 1 billion rubles ($35.6 million) and further increase to 1.5 billion ($53.4 million) in 2008.
Bavlov also said that the Federal Agency for Nuclear Power would begin making an additional investment of 1.5 billion rubles in the sector in 2007.
'This will make the government contribution to uranium production total 3-3.5 billion rubles [$107-124 million] annually,' Bavlov said.


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