The government of Uzbekistan and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) intend to sign a production-sharing agreement to jointly explore and develop uranium deposits in the Central Asian republic, a source close to JOGMEC said on Tuesday.
“The government has instructed ministries and departments to accelerate the elaboration of a PSA project submitted by JOGMEC. The work may be completed by the end of the year,” the source said.
The PSA to explore and develop uranium mines in central Uzbekistan's Navoiy province may be signed in early 2013 and put into effect in the first quarter next year.
In 2009, the Uzbek Committee for Geology and Mineral Resources and JOGMEC signed an agreement on joint exploration of uranium at the promising Darvazin, Jurgantau and Northern-Tamdytau sites in the central Kyzyl-Kum region.
Under the 2009 agreement, the Japanese company undertook to carry out work for one year to confirm the results of previous surveys.
‘The surveys have showed the availability of uranium, production of which is considered expedient even taking into account market volatility today,” the source said.
Uranium reserves discovered at the three licensed sites total about 13,000 tons, according to Uzbek government data. Uzbekistan’s proven reserves are estimated at 185,800 tons.