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Brazil restarts uranium production for the first time since 2015

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Caetite uranium mine, Brazil. Image credit: INB.

(Kitco News) - The state Brazil nuclear corporation Industrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB) announced yesterday that it has started uranium production from the new open-pit Engenho mine at Caetite project, in Brazil's Bahia state.

It is hoped that resumption of uranium production at the site will make the country self-sufficient in fuel for its nuclear power reactors.

"This Tuesday, December 1, was the day of the resuming production of the uranium at the INB unit in Caetite. At the ceremony, attended by Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque, there was a detonation symbolizing the beginning of open-pit mining at the new area, the Engenho mine," the release said on Tuesday.

According to the release, from 2000 to 2015, the Cachoeira mine in Caetite produced 3,750 tonnes of uranium, and because of exhaustion of mineable reserves, mining activities have been suspended.

The Engenho mine is expected to produce 260 tonnes of uranium per year when the unit reaches its full capacity by 2022.

Current resource estimate at Caetite stands at 91 ktonnes of uranium.

Brazil has two nuclear reactors - Angra 1 and 2 - which generate about 3% of its electricity.

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