French company to invest up to $500 mln in uranium mining in Uzbekistan

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The Minister of Mining and Geology, Bobir Islomov, at the Verona Eurasian Economic Forum in Samarkand, announced that the French company Orano will invest up to $500 million in uranium exploration and processing in the Navoi region, reports.

Based on a signed strategic agreement, the French company is conducting geological exploration on two sites in the Tamdyn district of the Navoi region in Uzbekistan, said Islomov.

By the end of 2023, they plan to develop the initial technical and economic justification for the project.

Bobir Islomov emphasized that Uzbekistan will export the mined uranium based on the price situation.

It is noted that in November 2022, Orano signed a three-way agreement with the State Committee for Geology and "Navoiy Uran" on expanding uranium mining and processing. Based on the agreement, a joint venture, "Nurlikum Mining," was established, with 51% owned by Orano and 49% by "Navoiy Uran."

On November 2, in Samarkand, French President Emmanuel Macron held talks with the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

Before this trip, Bloomberg, an economic news agency, commented on the visits of the French President to Kazakhstan on November 1 and Uzbekistan on November 2.

"Paris seeks closer cooperation with Kazakhstan, a country rich in natural resources. That's why President Emmanuel Macron will travel to resource-rich Central Asia this week to visit Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, two uranium suppliers that fuel the country's nuclear reactors," the publication stated.

According to the French Ministry of the Economy, last year, Kazakhstan became the largest supplier of uranium to France. In addition, Kazakhstan ranks second in the list of oil-supplying countries to France.

Meanwhile, Uzbekistan is the main supplier of uranium to France. The Moscow-based newspaper "Kommersant" previously reported that in 2022, Uzbekistan nearly tripled its uranium exports to Europe, selling 441 tons of uranium.

November 7, 2023