World Economy

China’s Largest Uranium Mine Reports More Deposits

China’s Largest Uranium Mine Reports More DepositsChina’s Largest Uranium Mine Reports More Deposits

Chinese geologists have discovered more uranium deposits at China’s largest uranium mine, Xinhua reported.

Geological exploration around the western sections of the Daying uranium mine, located in Erdos City in north China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, started earlier this year and lasted six months, said Cheng Liwei, director of the China Central Geological Survey Fund Management Center.

The belt of uranium at the Daying mine is now thought to be 20 kilometers longer than originally estimated, making the mine the 14th largest in the world, said Cheng.

“Compared with a preliminary survey in 2012, this new discovery represents a uranium deposit increase of about 60 percent,” Cheng said, without disclosing the estimated size of the deposit.

Exploration staff has already reached a drilling depth of about 15,000 meters around the western areas of the Daying mine. The exploration project is supported by investments totaling $4 million (24.6 million yuan), the Management Center said in a statement on its website.

The Land and Resources Ministry announced in September 2012 that a large leaching sandstone-type uranium deposit was discovered in Daying, along with a large coal mine, with estimated reserves of 51 billion tons.

The discovery is significant as it will boost domestic uranium supplies and ensure energy sources for developing nuclear power, the ministry said in 2012. Uranium is the only commercially available fuel source for nuclear power plants. When used in the civilian sector to fuel nuclear power plants, one kilogram of uranium-235 can theoretically produce as much energy as 3,000 tons of coal.

According to the World Nuclear Association, nuclear energy is used to generate around 11 percent of the world’s electricity. China began developing its nuclear power industry in the late 1980s to help ease an energy bottleneck, optimize energy structure, and achieve cleaner growth.