PARIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Regulatory News:
KATCO, the Kazakhstani – French joint venture between Orano Mining and NAC Kazatomprom JSC, and the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan signed an Addendum to the existing Subsoil Use Contract, which allows to carry out industrial development of the South Tortkuduk parcel of the Muyunkum uranium deposit. The operation of this new parcel is expected to ensure KATCO’s production for about 15 years.
The South Tortkuduk uranium parcel, with estimated uranium reserves of 46,000 metric tons, was discovered and delineated by KATCO geologists. It is located between the two sites – Tortkuduk and Muyunkum – which KATCO has been operating for more than 20 years, producing over 40,000 metric tons of uranium from the start of production.
The South Tortkuduk project will be operated, as is the case with the existing mines, using ISR1 technology and will draw on the expertise of KATCO’s teams who have developed and operated one of the largest ISR mines in the world. Production from the new deposit is scheduled to begin in 18 months.
Given the work required to bring this new parcel on stream, the KATCO JV’s total production could be limited to approximately 65 % of its nominal capacity (about 2,600 tons of uranium per year) for the next two years, with an estimated return to its full production level of about 4,000 tons of uranium per year in 2026 at the earliest.
Philippe Knoche, CEO of Orano, commented: “This important decision is in line with the Strategic Agreement signed in 2017 between Orano and our partner Kazatomprom. This Addendum to the existing Subsoil Use Contract gives KATCO long-term prospects for its uranium production. Orano and Kazatomprom share many of the same common objectives, including the goal of being responsible miners developing the best mining techniques in terms of both environmental protection and operational performance, in order to contribute to the production of low-carbon electricity and to ensure security of supply for our customers.”
As a recognized international operator in the field of nuclear materials, Orano delivers solutions to address present and future global energy and health challenges.
Its expertise and mastery of cutting-edge technologies enable Orano to offer its customers high value-added products and services throughout the entire fuel cycle.
Every day, the Orano group’s 17,000 employees draw on their skills, unwavering dedication to safety and constant quest for innovation, with the commitment to develop know-how in the transformation and control of nuclear materials, for the climate and for a healthy and resource-efficient world, now and tomorrow.
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Created in 1996, KATCO, the joint venture between Orano Mining (51%) and NAC Kazatomprom JSC (49%), successfully produces uranium by the method of in-situ recovery (ISR) at the Muyunkum deposit located in Turkestan region, approximately 300 kilometres north of Shymkent. Today, the company employs around 1,200 persons and runs one of the largest ISR operations in the world with a yearly capacity of 4,000 tons of uranium.
1 In Situ Recovery: the principle of in situ recovery consists in injecting a leaching solution into the deposit without extracting the host rock
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