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Stepnoye Mining Directorate

Last Modified: May 13, 2014
Location: Stepnoye, Suzak District, Shymkent Oblast
Subordinate To: Kazatomprom
Size: N/A
Facility Status: N/A

Around 1970 the Soviet Union began to explore and develop ISL deposits in southern Kazakhstan. By 1990, ISL methods had displaced open-pit and underground mining as the predominant uranium production method in southern Kazakhstan. Stepnoye Mining Directorate entered into production in 1978 at the Mynkuduk and Uvanas deposits. Uranium is extracted using a sulfuric acid leachate. [1] During the Soviet era, material from Stepnoye and Tsentralnoye Mining Directorates was processed at the Kara Balta Ore Mining Combine in Kyrgyzstan. In 1993, Kazakhstan reduced the amount of material shipped to Kyrgyzstan and redirected most uranium ore shipments to its own facilities at the Tselinnyy Mining and Chemical Combine (now KazSabton) in Stepnogorsk. [2] In the 1990s, output from Stepnoye fell from from 800t in 1991 to less than 600t as a result of falling world prices for uranium and US anti-dumping policies. [3] In 2000, the Directorate reported a 40% increase in productivity due to new pay incentives introduced at the mines. [4] Under a long-term contract, Nukem of Germany buys most of the uranium obtained from Stepnoye mines. [5]

Activities: Stepnoye Mining Directorate mines deposits at Mynkuduk, Uvanas, Akdala and Zhalpak in Shymkent Oblast using the in-situ leaching (ISL) method. [6]

Sources:
[1] Paul Carroll, "The Reconstruction of the Uranium Industry in Kazakhstan," Presentation at the Uranium Institute's Twenty Second Annual International Symposium 1997, Uranium Institute, www.uilondon.org.
[2] Oleg Bukharin and William Potter, "Kazakhstan--A Nuclear Profile," Jane's Intelligence Review, April 1994, p. 186.
[3] Andrei Ivanov, "Kazakhstan: Uranium Industry Come Out of the Doldrums," 7 July 1996; Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, www.web.lexis-nexis.com.
[4] "Kazakhstan Develops New Uranium Deposit in South," Kazakhstanskaya pravda, 15 July 2000; FBIS Document CEP20000725000198.
[5] "District Court Denies Both Nukem's Motion for Satisfaction of Judgment and the Petition of US Energy Corp and Crested Corp to Dissolve the Sheep Mountain Partnership," PR Newswire Association, 20 July 1999; Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, www.web.lexis-nexis.com.
"Kazakhstan," Nuexco Review, 1994, p. 51.
[6] Heinrich Graul, "Uranium Mining as Seen in Situ," The Uranium Institute, No. 6, pp. 17-18.
Tatyana Shkolnik, "The Development of Uranium Reserves in the Republic of Kazakhstan," Report Provided to CISNP, August 1994, p. 2
Carole A. Grey, "Up Front In The CIS," Nuclear Engineering International, May 1994, pp. 16-20.
Paul Carroll, "The Reconstruction of the Uranium Industry in Kazakhstan," Presentation at the Uranium Institute's Twenty Second Annual International Symposium 1997, Uranium Institute, www.uilondon.org.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

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