Japanese trading house Mitsui and Co. said Oct. 6 it planned to jointly develop one of the world's largest uranium mines in Russia to supply Japanese nuclear power plants. Mitsui and the Russian state-owned nuclear fuel firm Techsnabexport (Tenex) will together spend nearly 29 billion yen (US$245 million) to develop the mine, with the aim of beginning production in 2009, a Mitsui spokesman said.
Mitsui hopes to own 25% of the Yuzhnaya mine, located in the Sakha Republic in far-eastern Russia. It will be the first case of a foreign company developing a uranium mine in Russia, said the spokesman, who declined to be named.
The companies believe the mine, which has estimated reserves of more than 250,000 tons of uranium, could yield up to 1,000 tons a year by 2015. Resource-poor Japan relies on nuclear generation for some 30% of its electricity with annual uranium consumption of about 8,700 tons a year.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006