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AREVA Uranium Exploration and Mining in Mongolia


Today I heard a yet unpublished, unconfirmed news coming from a Mongolia Antinuclear activist :
As Areva is very busy exploring and mining uranium in Mongolia, journalists and local opponents are definitely not welcomed around.
A French woman named Caroline, who recently came to Mongolia together with a French man journalist, with the intention of filming a documentary, about Areva’s uranium activities in Mongolia, were guided by a few local Mongolian antinuclear activists to a certain place in Mongolia where Areva has a campsite, for uranium exploration in the aera.
According to my source, they both quickly returned from that place, the French woman severely wounded by knife, both of them renouncing completely to film their documentary, and they immediately flew back to France, cutting short their stay in Mongolia.
I have asked to my source to look discreetly for further details: what date did this happened, what location in Mongolia. But I told my source most of all to not take risks digging that story, to tread very lightly.

Conclusion: Mongolia is a bit far and isolated, so already very little news is trickling out, but if some journalists or film makers intend to go there uninvited to make a scoop on Areva Mongol’s activities there, it may become quickly unhealthy for them!

Historical background
April 13, 2007 – Russia, Mongolia to jointly prospect, produce, process uranium
“[Nuclear power agency] Rosatom and Mongolia’s industry and trade ministry signed a protocol on development of cooperation in the field of geological prospecting, production and processing of uranium ores,” Rosatom secretary Sergei Novikov said on April 13, 2007. Rosatom head Sergei Kiriyenko held a meeting with Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar and held talks with the country’s prime minister, Miegombyn Enkhbold, during which it was agreed to implement international projects in Russia and Mongolia. (RIA Novosti, April 13, 2007)
April 11, 2008 – Russia-Mongolia uranium agreement signed
Russia and Mongolia have signed an agreement to cooperate in the production of Mongolian uranium. Prime minister Sanjaa Bayar also told journalists that his country is interested in building a nuclear power plant with Russian help.
According to reports, the agreement signed during a visit by Bayar to Moscow comprises a plan of joint actions whereby Russian specialists would assist in the uranium exploration, extraction and processing in Mongolia. OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and International Atomic Agency figures show Mongolia’s ‘reasonably assured’ uranium resources are currently estimated at some 46,000 tonnes, but Sergei Kiryenko, head of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, was upbeat about the possibility the country could have much more. “I think they are more than officially registered, over 100,000 tonnes,” he said. (WNN 11 Apr. 2008)
April 24, 2009 – IAEA offers assistance with development of uranium deposits to Mongolia
Mongolia and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will work together toward implementing a joint program for the peaceful and effective use of the nation’s uranium. IAEA Director General ElBaradei said the IAEA will support Mongolia’s efforts to use its proven reserves with the help of international assistance. (UB Post Apr. 24, 2009)
July 16, 2009 – Japan and Mongolia sign agreement on joint uranium mine development
Japan and Mongolia signed a mine development agreement Thursday (July 16), as resource-poor Tokyo searches for ways to secure mineral products. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso agreed with visiting Mongolian premier Sanjaa Bayar that their nations would jointly develop uranium mines for use in nuclear power plants. (Straits Times July 16, 2009)
Sept. 14, 2009 – India signs uranium supply agreement with Mongolia
India Monday (Sep. 14) signed a uranium supply agreement with Mongolia, the fifth country to seal a civil nuclear pact with New Delhi, and announced a soft loan of $25 million to rejuvenate the economy of the resource-rich Central Asian country. (SamayLive Sep 14, 2009)
Oct. 7, 2009 – Areva signs agreement with Mongolia
French nuclear company Areva has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on nuclear energy and radioactive materials cooperation with Mongolia’s Atomic Energy Department (AED). Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon reiterated Areva’s interest in increasing its investment in Mongolia and infomed the Mongolian president that her company would “assist Mongolia to train its mining specialists.” (WNN Oct. 7, 2009)
Dec. 21, 2009 – Mitsubishi Corporation joins Areva with uranium exploration in Mongolia
On Dec. 21, 2009, Areva announced that it has invited Mitsubishi Corporation to participate in the development of its uranium exploration assets in Mongolia with the possibility of acquiring 34% of Areva Mongol over time. Areva currently holds 36 uranium exploration licenses on more than 14,000 km2 in both the Dornogobi and Sukhbaatar provinces.
Jan. 13, 2010 – India to mine uranium in Mongolia
India and Mongolia on Wednesday (Jan. 13) decided to operationalise their pact on civil nuclear cooperation by assisting in capacity creation for Ulan Bator’s nuclear sector and considering the manner in which India would begin uranium mining in Mongolia. (The Hindu Jan. 13, 2010)
July 19, 2010 – China and Mongolia sign Memorandum of Understanding on nuclear power cooperation
On June 1, Mr. Sun Qin, General Manager of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Radioactive Minerals and Nuclear Power Cooperation (MOU) with Mr. Enkhbat, Director General of the Mongolian Nuclear Energy Agency in the presence of the premiers of the two states during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Mongolia. The execution of the MOU laid the foundation for cooperation between the two countries in peaceful use of nuclear energy and uranium resources in particular. (CNNC July 19, 2010)
Nov. 2, 2010 – France and Mongolia sign agreement on nuclear cooperation, uranium mining
On Oct. 14, 2010, France and Mongolia signed a cooperation agreement in the field of nuclear energy. It covers, among others, uranium exploration and exploitation by Areva in Mongolia. (Areva Nov. 2, 2010)
Dec. 27, 2010 – Russia and Mongolia uranium mining joint venture
According to RIA Novosti, the Russian Federation Council ratified on Dec. 24 the agreement with Mongolia on the creation of a uranium mining joint venture. (Emfis Dec. 27, 2010)
107 uranium exploration licenses issued in Mongolia
According to the Nuclear Energy Authority, 107 uranium exploration licenses have been issued in Mongolia so far. Two uranium exploitation licenses have been issued as well. The agency also says the state spent MNT 16 billion for uranium exploration in 2009, MNT 25.1 billion in 2010, and MNT 37.1 billion in 2011.
Specialists say most exploration work is being done in Dornod, Sukhbaatar, and Dornogobi aimags. A total of nine uranium deposit mines have been identified in the country, and these mines have an estimated 68,500 tons of uranium. Forty-three exploration licenses have been granted in Dornogobi aimag, 26 in Dornod aimag, and 19 in Sukhbaatar aimag. Twenty-eight companies have finished research and test work and have begun to prepare to exploit uranium deposits. Some companies are planning to exploit uranium beginning in 2014 and to build uranium processing facilities in Dornod, Dornogobi, and Dundgobi aimags. ( Dec. 16, 2011)
Two uranium processing facilities to be built in Dornod province
The Nuclear Energy Authority says it has big plans for Mongolia’s uranium mining industry. The authority says two uranium processing facilities will be built in Dornod aimag (province), and construction preparation work is already underway. The factories will export uranium products to France and Kazakhstan.
Uranium exploration efforts began in Mongolia in 2009, and the Nuclear Energy Authority is planning to intensify exploration efforts. The work of establishing uranium mines in Dornod and Dundgobi aimags has begun. ( Dec. 28, 2011)
April 2013 – The French nuclear giant AREVA (EPA:AREVA) revealed information about a new uranium discovery in Mongolia.
AREVA Mongol, its Mongolian subsidiary, reported 50,000 tonnes of uranium in inferred resources with a grade of 0.01% as a result of ongoing exploration efforts at the Zoovch Ovoo project.
The project is located in Ulaanbadrah Soum, in the southeastern Dornogobi province of Mongolia.
Uranium mineralization is characterized as roll-front type and potentially amenable for the most effective lowest-cost in-situ leaching (ISL, a.k.a in-situ recovery) mining method.
Thus, by the volume of uranium resources in-situ, the Zoovch Ovoo project is comparable to the biggest deposits of that type in Kazakhstan.
This is not the only Mongolian exploration success for AREVA in recent years.
Two years ago, the company announced the discovery of the Dulaan Uul deposit with 9,888 tonnes of uranium, following field tests which confirmed the ISL mining method as preferable.
AREVA Mongol has 28 exploration licenses covering more than 14,100 square kilometres in the East Gobi province of Mongolia. This huge sedimentary basin contains promising uranium deposits well-suited to ISL mining technology.
October 2013 – AREVA forms a joint venture to develop its mining activities in Mongolia
AREVA has signed an agreement to develop uranium mines in Mongolia and to create the company AREVA Mines LLC, 66% owned by AREVA and 34% owned by MON-ATOM, the Mongolian state-owned nuclear company. Areva in the text of the agreement mentioning Mitsubishi financial participation but without revealing to what extent.

Areva Operations in Mongolia
AREVA Mongol, the parent company
In 2007, AREVA purchased the East Asia Minerals Energy company, renamed it AREVA Mongol in March 2008. AREVA Mongol LLC is the parent company of the entities in Mongolia. Its headquarters are in Ulaanbaatar, the capital.
All support functions are grouped together. It counts with its entities, nearly 120 employees of which over 90% are of Mongolian origin.
Since 2009, AREVA Mongol owns 100% of Cogegobi. In November 2011, Mitsubishi has exercised its previous agreement of an investment option, becoming 34% shareholder in Areva Mongol LLC.
Cogegobi LLC for exploration
The Cogegobi LLC company holds all the uranium deposit exploration permits (22 licenses). All functions related to exploration are grouped unde Cogegobi LLC.
AREVA Mining LLC for the mining operations
AREVA Mines LLC (66% AREVA MONGOL LLC, MON-ATOM 34%) is the company that will own the mining licenses that will be requested by Cogegobi to the International Atomic Energy Agency
All functions relating to the operation will be consolidated within AREVA Mines LLC.

Uranium in Mongolia : 1.47 millionTU estimated !
According to the 2011 Red Book, Mongolia has 74,000 tU in Reasonably Assured Resources plus Inferred Resources, to US$ 130/kg U. However, geological indications reported in the Red Book suggest that uranium resources could be 1.47 million tU.
The mining sector is Mongolia’s single largest industry, accounting for 55% of industrial output and more than 40% of export earnings.

Antinuclear in Mongolia
Herders on horseback protesting in Ulaanbaatar against mining activities
Central Square of the capital city is more crowded than usual for the last ten days. United under the moto “Save the Nation”, members of three civil movements – United for Rivers and Lakes , Khuder River , and Gal Undesten – started to converge on Sukhbaatar Square since April 19th  with 100 horsemen and horse carts and erected eight gers (yurts) there. Most of them are herders, who have come on horseback from countryside to demand stopping of mining activities that destroys their pastureland.
All the members had their heads bound in bands and held sign boards with the slogans “We want resignation of the Government!”, “Give power to the People!”. The movement wants a national discussion on the present situation, resignation of the Government, and dissolution of Parliament. Moreover, they already have the anthem “Wake up Mongols”, which has been playing all day at the Sukhbaatar Square.
According to an activist of the movement there are about 400 people from different soums (counties) of 18 provinces participating in this civil movement to protect their living areas. They are calling out people to join and to involve in the movement at the Sukhbaatar Square. Both the assembly and the putting up of gers in Sukhbaatar Square are in violation of orders, but the gers are still there. Another 300 horsemen are on their way to Ulaanbaatar from the western provinces to join those already here. (UB Post Apr. 26, 2011)
Uranium Action Day: protests at Areva office in Ulaanbaatar
Activists of Golomt – Anti Nuclear Movement Mongolia held protests against the proposed uranium mining in Mongolia at the offices of Areva in Ulaanbaatar on Sep. 29, and Oct. 1, 2012. (Golomt Oct. 2, 2012)
Demonstration in Ulaanbaatar against uranium extraction in Mongolia
Several NGOs expressed their opposition against uranium extraction in Mongolia, informed the public of the fatal effects deriving from uranium in Ulaanbadrakh soum [county], and prompted decision makers to visit the soum in Dornogovi Province to witness the conditions, at a peaceful demonstration at the Central Square [in Ulaanbaatar] on Monday (June 9).
Residents of Ulaanbadrakh soum have contacted the NGOs for support against uranium operation of Gogegobi LLC and Areva Mongol LLC, fully owned subsidiary of France-headquartered uranium-giant Areva, at the soum which has reportedly seen 200 livestock die and many more with birth defects due to uranium contamination in the region. (UBPost June 12, 2014)

The largest antinuclear activist group on Facebook is from Mongolia
10,183 members !

May 4, 2015 Posted by | Uranium | | Leave a comment