(MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia) Although attracting little attention, an interesting discovery of uranium occurred on the weekend.
China has discovered a large uranium ore deposit in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
Although reports are sketchy, the Ministry of Land and Resources said a large leaching sandstone-type uranium deposit had been discovered.
Reportedly, it was the largest found so far in China to contain that type of uranium, is in the Daying areas of central Inner Mongolia.
A team consisting of 500 technicians and builders from nuclear power companies and related government departments was sent to conduct the 10-month exploration after the site was tested during the drilling to detect radioactivity.
Although size of that discovery was not stated by official sources, a "super size" coal deposit was also discovered - said to contain 51 billion tonnes of coal.
Energy experts are suggesting the discovery won't lead to the country's importing less of the radioactive material.
Moreso, as the country works to resume previously stalled nuclear energy projects.
"In the coming years, China's demand for the radioactive ore will surge with the booming development of nuclear power," said Lin Zong, a researcher at the Development and Research Center of the China Geological Survey.
"The deposit won't reduce the country's imports of uranium."
He said uranium is a substance of strategic importance to China. The more of it the country has, the better, he added.
According to a 2012 white paper on the country's energy policy, which was released in October, the country is expected to have 40 million kilowatts of installed nuclear capacity by 2015, leading it to consume at least 7,500 tonnes a year of natural uranium.
China now produces about 1,000 tons of uranium a year, said Kevin Jianjun Tu, a senior associate at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he directs Carnegie's work on China's energy and climate policies, in a previous report.
The World Nuclear Association estimates China will be using 20,000 tons of uranium a year by 2020, about a third of the global output in 2009.
The newly discovered uranium deposit comes as a sign that China can increase its domestic uranium supplies and secure the fuel needed to develop its nuclear programs, according to the Ministry of Land and Resources.
In general, the price of uranium fluctuates from tens of dollars per half a kilogram to 130 per half kilogram.
China imported 16,126 tons of uranium in 2011, 6 percent fewer than the 17,135 tons it imported in 2010, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
The country buys 95 percent of its uranium from Kazakhstan, Namibia, Australia and Uzbekistan.
Besides purchasing foreign uranium, China's nuclear companies have been seeking opportunities to mine uranium abroad.
While very early days, the find has implications for uranium demand and supply longer term as well as providing China with a bargaining chip.