Terrafame starts uranium recovery in Sotkamo

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Terrafame starts uranium recovery in Sotkamo

State-owned mining company Terrafame on Tuesday started recovering natural uranium on its industrial site in Sotkamo, Finland, said the company in a press release.

Before the recovery was commissioned, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) conducted a commissioning inspection at the uranium recovery plant and found that the plant can be commissioned safely.

The company’s production process enables the low concentration of natural uranium found in the ore to be used as a by-product.

The uranium recovered by Terrafame will be transported abroad for further processing, after which it will be used in nuclear energy production.

With the start of operations, Finland is the only European Union member state that produces uranium.

After the start-up phase, the recovery plant is estimated to operate at full capacity by 2026, when the company’s uranium output will total about 200 tons per year.

The production capacity corresponds to about nine months of consumption at the new Olkiluoto3 nuclear power plant in Finland.

The plan is to continue uranium production alongside the production of other metals throughout the operating period, which covers at least the next 30 years.

In total, the preparations required investments of approximately EUR 20 million.

“The utilization of natural uranium in energy production helps in achieving climate goals and building Europe’s energy self-sufficiency. Thanks to our modern production process, we can recover even more metals cost-effectively,” said Seppo Voutilainen, CEO of Terrafame Ltd.

After the ramp-up phase, the recovery of uranium will increase Terrafame’s net sales by approximately EUR 30–40 million per year, based on the current market price of uranium, accounting for a few percent of Terrafame’s estimated net sales in the coming years. The recovery currently employs about 40 people.

In 2020, the Finnish Government granted a uranium recovery permit to Terrafame under the Nuclear Energy Act, authorizing the company to recover uranium from the ore in the Sotkamo mine.

The decision is legally valid under the decision made by the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland in June 2021. Terrafame also has an environmental permit as well as the chemicals permit for uranium recovery.

Terrafame Ltd was founded in 2015. Its net sales in 2023 were EUR 560.9 million. Around 1,900 people work on its industrial site, about half of whom are employees of partner companies.

Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

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