GENERAL DIRECTOR, NURLIKUM MINING LLC
Mining I Interview I Uzbekistan 2023
_BIOGRAPHY He has an extensive experience in mining industry and held senior management and operational positions in Orano Mining subsidiaries over the past 25 years in uranium mining. Prior to joining Nurlikum Mining Benoit worked as the General Director for COMUF subsidiary in Gabon, where he led the completion of the site reclamation project.
“LEVERAGING THE EXPERTISE AND RESOURCES OF ORANO, THE COMPANY IS SPEARHEADING THE TRANSFORMATION OF UZBEKISTAN'S MINING INDUSTRY.”
CAN YOU SHARE WITH US NURLIKUM MINING’S INVESTMENT PLAN FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
Nurlikum Mining is a joint venture between France and Uzbekistan that was established in 2019 with the goal of exploring and developing uranium deposits for production. The company currently holds two licenses for exploring uranium in the Djengeldi North and South sectors in the Navoy region. Nurlikum Mining is primarily focused on the development of the Djengeldi project. In November 2022, the company began an industrial pilot project at Djengeldi to evaluate the economic and technological parameters and assess the environmental aspects.
Our main priority for this year is to successfully complete the pilot project and confirm the potential of Djengeldi under safe working conditions and environmentally sound practices. To achieve this, we will continue to promote a safety culture at Nurlikum Mining, including with our employees and subcontractors. Additionally, we will prioritize the training of qualified specialists who meet international standards, methods, and requirements. Nurlikum Mining is committed to ensuring that Djengeldi develops as a site that meets all international standards.
WHAT POTENTIAL DO YOU SEE FOR THE MINING INDUSTRY IN THE COUNTRY?
Uzbekistan has implemented a strategic plan to double its uranium production, and Nurlikum Mining, leveraging the extensive experience of its shareholders Orano and Navoiy Uran, is poised to play a significant role in achieving this goal. As of the end of 2022, our exploration efforts at Djelgendi have confirmed half of the estimated uranium resources, and we anticipate confirming the other half this year.
In 2023, Nurlikum Mining will conduct a feasibility study to assess all economic and technical parameters, infrastructure requirements, and employment needs for future projects. Upon completion, we will make a decision on launching the plant, and we are optimistic about commencing the project as planned in 2024.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES OF THE COMPANY'S OPERATIONS?
At Nurlikum Mining, safety is our top priority. We continually challenge ourselves to maintain the highest levels of safety culture among our employees, offering training programs, safety days, and explanatory sessions to new staff members. We are dedicated to fostering a culture of safety and ensuring that all employees understand the importance of adhering to strict safety protocols. In addition to safety, we prioritize high levels of professionalism among our staff.
We regularly organize training programs and field visits to enhance the skills and expertise of our specialists. Nurlikum Mining provides over 100 hours of professional and language training per employee each year, which is significantly higher than what established international mining companies offer. We are committed to ensuring that our employees possess the necessary knowledge and expertise to meet the highest industry standards.
Thanks to its shareholders, the Nurlikum Mining specialists have access to the latest digital technology such as a 3D dynamic modelling tool called HYTEC designed by Orano and the leading French school Mines Paris Tech to simulate the mining of the deposits exploited by the ISR technology in the dynamic form. It helps to predict the uranium recovery, consumption of reagents and thus optimize the processes. Hytec is also the software used to predict and thus minimize the environmental impact before and after mining and better manage the remediation efforts.
WHAT ARE THE COMPANY'S MAIN SOCIAL AND SUSTAINABLE INITIATIVES?
Nurlikum Mining upholds the Orano group's dedication to responsible mining. From the outset of our activities, we have committed to implementing the best international corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices in the industry, such as those developed by the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM), of which Orano is an active member. As part of our commitment to preserving biodiversity, we will be conducting our first fauna and flora inventory this year.
In 2021, Nurlikum Mining was one of the first companies in the country to conduct a stakeholder mapping exercise to learn about stakeholder expectations and develop effective engagement strategies. Our key focus areas for projects that benefit local communities are health, education, economic and social development, and access to water and energy. Our priority is to work together with local communities to define sustainable projects that bring long-term benefits.