On January 23, 2018, Uranium One, a ROSATOM international mining company, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation of Argentina and UrAmerica Argentina S.A. signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of development of state-of-art uranium mining technologies in Argentina. The Memorandum confirms the interest of the Argentinean side in the development of the most efficient technology applied to uranium production – In Situ Recovery (ISR) – in partnership with Uranium One and mutual cooperation in this field.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation of Argentina Dr. Lino Barañao, PhD in Chemistry said, «The cooperation with ROSATOM will raise the uranium mining in the country to a new level. Argentina will strengthen its positioning as a nuclear technologies leader in the region, while the ISR projects will further promote the industrial technology development and will increase and enhance cooperation between Argentina and Russia. This fits within the concept of “Smart Mining”, which uses cutting edge technology, leading to an efficient management of the productive process».
"The signing of the Memorandum opens new opportunities in Latin America for us," said Vasily Konstantinov, the president of the Uranium One Group. "It lays the foundation for successful cooperation with our partners in Argentina, expanding the geography of the company's uranium mining business."
Omar Adra, President of UrAmerica Argentina S.A. said, “I´m proud that UrAmerica is part of this Memorandum, which means an important scientific advance for Argentina and its local nuclear development”.
Unlike the traditional extraction method (extracting ore from the subsoil, its shattering and processing) with ISR uranium ore remains in place. Leaching reagent is pumped through the ore via well system, followed by extracting of the uranium-containing solution to the surface, where it is subsequently processed to obtain the final product, yellow cake or triuranium octoxide. When using ISR the surface remains almost intact, there is no tailings or waste rock and the groundwater condition restores to its initial state. This method is much more economically efficient and environmentally preferable as compared to open-pit or underground uranium mining method.
Dr. Lino Barañao visited the Karatau LLP, a joint Russian-Kazakhstan venture located in Kazakhstan in 2017. During his visit Dr. Barañao examined the best practices of Uranium One in the extraction of natural uranium by the effective ISR technology.