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Kazatomprom to Construct New Sulfuric Acid Plant to Boost Uranium Production
Kazatomprom to Construct New Sulfuric Acid Plant to Boost Uranium Production

Kazatomprom to Construct New Sulfuric Acid Plant to Boost Uranium Production

  • 01-May-2023 6:25 PM
  • Journalist: Motoki Sasaki

Kazakhstan: Kazatomprom, the national atomic company of Kazakhstan, has recently announced that its new partnership enterprise, named Taiqonyr Qyshqyl Zauyty LLP, has received a certificate of state registration. The company is set up to undertake the construction project of a new plant. Kazatomprom will hold a 49% stake in the company, while its subsidiaries, RU-6 LLP (25%) and Kazatomprom-SaUran LLP (26%), will also be part of the partnership. RU-6 is responsible for ISL Uranium operations in the Kyzylorda region, while Kazatomprom-SaUran produces Uranium from several wellfields including Kanzhugan and Yuzhny Moyynkum.

In Kazakhstan, all Uranium production currently uses the in-situ leach (ISL) method. This innovative technique involves using a native groundwater solution that is enriched with acid or alkali. The solution is then pumped through boreholes to dissolve minerals within an orebody. The dissolved minerals are extracted when the solution reaches the surface.

The ISL method requires suitable geology that allows for the permeability of the liquids used while keeping groundwater away from the orebody uncontaminated. However, this process involves minimal surface disturbance and produces neither tailings nor waste rock. In the case of Kazakhstan's Uranium production, Sulfuric acid is used within the ISL method.

Kazatomprom, the world's largest Uranium producer, has announced plans to build a Sulfuric acid plant near its ISL Uranium mines in Kazakhstan. By producing its own acid on-site, Kazatomprom aims to secure a reliable and long-term source of supply while mitigating rising costs and reducing the overall cost of Uranium products. The project is currently in the feasibility study phase, with a potential investor being selected. The final costs will be determined after the design and estimate documentation approval. The construction of the Sulfuric acid plant is projected to commence in 2024, and it is expected to reach full capacity in 2026.

Kazakhstan-based uranium producer, Kazatomprom, has announced plans to build a new plant in the Turkestan region. The company said the project will be of strategic importance both for Kazatomprom and the Turkestan region, as it will make a "significant contribution" to economic and social development.

Not only will the construction attract additional investments and bring local tax revenues, but it will also create approximately 800 new jobs during its construction phase, and a further 500 jobs during the operation phase. In addition, the region will benefit from the electricity generated by by-product heat from the plant.

Kazakhstan's orebodies have a significant amount of Carbonate, leading to the need for high levels of Sulfuric acid during production. Historically, the availability of acid has posed constraints on Kazakh production. However, in 2009, a coordinating council was established to regulate the supply of acid and improve infrastructure, improving the situation.

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