Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Syria

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Last Updated: August 17, 2012
Other Name: Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources [1]
Location: Damascus
Subordinate To: Unknown
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: Operational

Syria possesses extensive phosphate rock reserves, estimated at 1,700 million tons, of which the country exploits about 3.5 million tons per year. [2] The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources oversees Syria's three operating phosphate mining sites at Charkiet, Sawwaneh, and Khneifiss. [3]

Syria explored a program to extract uranium from phosphate with IAEA assistance at the phosphoric acid pilot plant. [4] Although ostensibly for the civilian use of purifying phosphoric acid for use in fertilizers, the by-product of this process was uranium yellowcake. [5] In 2011, Syria acknowledged carrying out experiments with domestically separated uranium after the IAEA found processed natural uranium particles at the SRR-1 Miniature Neutron Source Reactor. [6]

Sources:
[1] "Arab Republic of Syria," The Middle East Annual Review 1975-6 (Essex, England: The Middle East Review Company Limited, 1975-1976), p. 259.
[2] Jamal Asfahani, "Phosphate Prospecting Using Natural Gamma Ray Well Logging in the Khneifiss Mine, Syria," Exploration and Mining Geology, Vol. 11, Nos. 1-4, 2002, p. 62.
[3] "Fertilizer International: Commercial Phosphate Rock from Syria," Chemical Business Newsbase, 9 August 2001, www.lexisnexis.com.
[4] "Uranium Recovery from Phosphoric Acid," Project Number SYR/3/003, IAEA-TC Project Datasheet, www-tc.iaea.org.
[5] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2011/30, 24 May 2011, www.iaea.org.
[6] IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic," Report by the Director General to the Board of Governors, GOV/2011/30, 24 May 2011, www.iaea.org.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2017.