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Russia revs up the production of rare earths and scandium

January 22, 2018      Source:investorintel

Keywords:rare earth

Russia plans to start active production of scandium and other rare earth elements on the basis of Tomtorskoe field – one of world’s largest REE fields, located in the Yakutia Republic of Russia, thanks to the recently provided guarantees from the Russian government to support such projects.

The provided guarantees mean the allocation of state subsidies for the compensation of interest rates on investment loans, given by Russian banks for the development of Tomtorskoe and other similar fields.

For example, such subsidies were provided to Russian Rostec and ICT Group, the operators of the Tomtorskoe project.

According to experts, the development of the Tomtorskoe will cost at least 70 billion rubles (US$1.3 billion) at the initial stage, with the possibility of an increase of costs in due course.

The Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said ore production at the Tomtorskoe should begin at the end of the current year. The project involves building a mining and processing complex, with a capacity of 200,000 tonnes of ore per year.

Manturov also added ore from the Tomtorskoye field will be supplied to the Russian city of Chita, where further production of concentrate will be started at the capacities of one of the local enterprises of the Russian nuclear monopoly Rosatom. It is planned, thorium, that will be a by-product of this production, will be used in the building of nuclear power units in Russia.

Resources of the Tomtorskoe field are sufficient to provide REEs to the majority of crucial industries in Russia, including defense and aerospace, the development of which is envisaged by the current plans of the national government.

Russian analysts in the field of mining believe the provision of state support will create conditions for more active development of local fields, which contain strategic metals and minerals.

According to them, only the reserves of Tomtorskoe are estimated at 154 million tonnes of ore with a very high content of oxides of ten rare earth elements, including niobium, terbium, yttrium and scandium.

Of these, a particular attention of the state and investors is expected to be paid to the production of scandium.

Experts say that there are 18 useful rare earth elements, which are contained in a tonne of ore from the Tomtor field, the total cost of which is estimated at US$11,500. For comparison: gold is currently produced from ores, where its content is estimated at 1 gram per ton. One gram of gold costs about US$30.

The development of the Tomtorskoe field can be carried out for long period of time – up to 100 years, (if not more), and, according to available data of the Russian Ministry of Energy, only the development of Burannyh site, which is one of the sections of the Tomtorskoe, can take up to 50 years.

See more at https://investorintel.com/sectors/technology-metals/technology-metals-intel/russia-revs-production-rare-earths-scandium/

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