Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Uranium Country Notes
Deposits of uranium ores have been found in at least 25 locations since the early 1950s, mostly lying in the central Kyzylkum area running from Uchkuduk in the north-west to Nurabad in the south-east. Although there was some production in the Fergana valley area, starting in 1946, commercial mining began in 1958 at Uchkuduk from open-pit and underground operations. ISL recovery methods were brought into use from 1965 and gradually came to dominate the production scene. The last of the open-pit and underground mines were closed in 1994, after conventional mining had produced a cumulative total of nearly 56 000 tonnes, 65% of which had come from open-pit operations.
Uranium output in 2005 by the state-owned Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Complex (NMMC), the sole producer, totalled about 2 300 tonnes - corresponding to 5.5% of global output. Production is exclusively ISL-based and takes place at eight locations. In operation during 2005 were three ISL production centres, which sent their output by rail to the NMMC processing plant at Navoi (nominal production capacity 3 000 tU/yr).
The republic's in-situ RAR (at up to US$ 80/kgU) amounted to 85 347 tonnes at the beginning of 2005, of which 70% was considered to be recoverable. The balance of known conventional resources consisted of 24 562 tonnes of in-situ RAR (of which 70% was considered recoverable at US$ 80-130/kgU) and
55 129 tonnes of in-situ IR (again with an estimated 70% recoverable, at up to US$ 130/kgU). Undiscovered conventional resources (on an in-situ basis) totalled about 220 000 tonnes, of which PR recoverable at up to US$ 130/kgU accounted for very nearly 85 000 tonnes, the balance (some 135 000 tonnes) being SR without a cost range assigned.