A ceremony to mark the start of construction of a new uranium mining complex was held at Jang-e Sar in north-western Iran.A ceremony was held to mark the start of work on the Shahid Bakri Mining and Industrial Complex on 10 August (Image: AEOI)
Mohammad Elsami, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said detailed exploration for uranium and rare earth elements began in Jang-e Sar in Iran's West Azerbaijan province last year and is still ongoing. The mining complex will be a hub for the supply of raw materials for nuclear fuel and will play a "significant role" in supporting Iran's plans for 20,000 MWe of nuclear capacity, he said.
The AEOI said it has carried out geological mapping, prepared a detailed phase report and used airborne geophysical technology to identify and investigate uranium mineralisation and other elements in the area. The organisation said it has estimated and evaluated "the tonnage and grade of minerals" but did not provide resource figures.
The construction schedule is expected to take 30 months to complete, and will proceed alongside "operation, construction and development of studies, especially for the processing of other elements with radioactive materials", he said.
The first phase of the project at Jang-e Sar will require an investment of around IRR10 trillion (around USD240 million) to be completed.
"We are leaving the study phase and starting the executive work," Eslami said.
Iran has previously mined uranium at Gachin near the port of Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf. According to information from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Bandar Abbas Uranium Production Plant, which had a production capacity of 21 tU per year, closed in 2016. A 50 tU per year production facility at Ardakan, processing ore from the Saghand mine in the Yazd province of central Iran, began operations in 2017.
In February, the AEOI announced the start of construction of a uranium-molybdenum mine at the Narigan Mining and Industrial Complex in Yazd, which at that time Eslami said had been estimated to contain 650 tU in addition to 4600 tonnes of molybdenum.
Researched and written by World Nuclear News