KAZAKHSTAN CAMECO CORP. and the National Atomic Co. of Kazakhstan (KAZATOMPROM) have formed a joint venture (Cameco 60% and KazAtomProm 40%) to develop the Inkai uranium deposit. The feasibility study envisions an in situ leach mine costing US$38 million to develop and reaching commercial production in 2007. Production would be ramped up to 2.6 million lb of uranium oxide annually by 2009.
The Inkai joint venture will submit an environmental assessment and design plan for construction to Kazakh regulatory authorities by the end of this year. Cameco expects construction to begin early in 2005. Inkai will employ up to 200 workers during construction and approximately 230 employees once full production is reached. Approximately 97% of the employees will be hired locally.
The deposit is located in south-central Kazakhstan, about 370 km northwest of the regional capital. The project has proven and probable reserves totalling 86.4 million tonnes grading 0.05% U3O8 plus indicated and inferred resources of approximately 257.5 million tonnes of a similar grade. In 2003, the test mine produced 200,000 lb of U3O8 and is expected to produce about 300,000 to 600,000 lb annually through 2007.
Saskatoon-based Cameco operates two in situ leach uranium mines, in Wyoming and Nebraska, which supply all primary uranium production in the United States. The company also operates two uranium mines in Saskatchewan. KazAtomProm runs three solution uranium mines in Kazakhstan. Check for updates at www.Cameco.com.