Local media sources reported that Russia, which has lost its leading position in the rare and rare earth metals (RM-REE) market as an aftermath of the collapse of the USSR, is ready to return to the ranks of the world’s largest producers of critical and “green” energy metals.
According to Kommersant, Russia’s leading business news outlet, the details of recently revealed roadmap of the program, jointly developed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the state nuclear corporation Rosatom, indicate that Russian state-owned and state-controlled corporations and companies to invest 284.6 billion rubles (~$4 billion) in the next three years into the development of operations in Russia and abroad that will focus on RM-REE mining and processing.
The roadmap assumes that production of RM (lithium, niobium, tantalum, etc.) is expected to reach 11,800 tonnes by 2024 and 43,400 tonnes by 2030, whereas output of REE is expected to grow to 7,000 tonnes by 2024 and to 30,000 tonnes by 2030.
Kommersant said that successful implementation of this program will make Russia one of the world’s largest exporters of RM and REE. As an integral part of this program, 10 new plants will be commissioned in Russia alone, and each plant will exploit its own deposit of raw materials.
In addition, Russian mining companies will participate in the establishment of mining operations in Argentina, Chile and Africa, which will focus on production of lithium and cobalt.
Local media sources pointed out that large corporations from the U.S., Europe, Japan and South Korea are extremely interested in RM and REE supplies from Russia. The global shift towards “green” energy increases the role of Russia as a reliable supplier of raw materials.