Russia may resume development of world’s largest uranium reserves

Yakutia uranium fields. Photo: Zaoprognoz

The Russian nuclear monopoly Rosatom may resume uranium mining in Yakutia, the region of Russia, which has the world’s largest uranium reserves.


Rosatom has suspended the development of the Yakut uranium deposits in 2017, however there is a possibility may resume such works in order with the recent order, given to the company by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev.


One of the reasons of suspension of uranium mining by the company in 2017 became low global prices for uranium, which forced Rosatom to switch to gold mining.


As a representative of Rosatom’s uranium holding ARMZ told in an interview with the Russian RBC business paper, as far back as in 2017, licenses were suspended for the development of uranium fields of the Elkon ore region in Yakutia - Elkon, Elkonskoe plateau, Kurung, Neprokhodimoe, Druzhnoe and Severnoe with total reserves of 357.100 tons of uranium, The rights to use subsoil resources for five of these fields (all except for the Severnoe) have now been suspended until the market conditions and economic conditions improve.


The project for the development of the Elkon group of uranium deposits was frozen due to a sharp drop in prices for uranium products, but the sites are still characterized by the largest reserves of the company.


After the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 and the shutdown of a number of nuclear power plants around the world, uranium prices fell from $ 70 to $ 25 per pound and remained at this level until 2020. However, amid the suspension of production due to the coronavirus pandemic, uranium prices rose to $30-35 per pound.


By: Eugen Gerden