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No uranium revival for Mangistau 17 ноября 2013, 16:33

Uranium mining won't be revived in Mangistau Oblast. Its uranium ore is of low-grade, roughly 20 times below the margin considered feasible for development.
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Uranium ore. Photo ©kazatomprom.kz Uranium ore. Photo ©kazatomprom.kz
In spite of the strive of Kazakhstan's west to diversify itself away from oil, uranium mining is not going to be revived in Mangistau Oblast for the time being, reports Tengrinews citing the Oblast's Akim (Mayor) Alik Aidarbayev. Massive uranium deposits were discovered in Mangistau in the early 1950s, along with rare earth metals, oil and gas. Their development was fueling the region since then, with the uranium industry being the core of it. The city of Aktau was initially built by the Pre-Caspian Mining-and-Metallurgical Integrated Works. The world's first fast-breeder nuclear reactor - Mangyshlak Atomic Energy Combine with BN-350 reactor - was constructed near Aktau in the mid 1970s. But after the disintegration of the Soviet the sun started settling on the region's uranium production and in the 1990s the plant was plundered. Its restoration is not considered to be economically feasible. “According to our experts, the concentration of uranium in our oars is so low that revival of this industry is counterproductive. The uranium industry is developing rapidly in other regions of our country, such as South Kazakhstan and Kyzylorda Oblasts,” said Aidarbayev at the briefing at the Center for Communication Service. At the briefing Aidarbayev answered the journalists’ questions on whether the uranium industry was going to be developed in Mangistau Oblast. Aidarbayev admitted that the local authorities gave a thought to that issue and even discussed it with KazAtomProm, Kazakhstan's national nuclear company. “Uranium industry in Mangistau Oblast used to be highly developed,” reminded the Akim. “No one knows how the situation might change. It’s possible that one day, it will become relevant to our region once again,” added Aidarbayev. According to estimates of independent experts, the uranium ore in Mangistau Oblast of Kazakhstan is of low-grade. It is roughly 20 times below the margin considered feasible for development by western companies. Although the ore is still there in ample amounts, its grade makes it unattractive for production and the uranium industry revival unfeasible. Kazakhstan is second in the world by uranium deposits and first by uranium production. It is home to 19% percent of the world's stock.

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