Rostec turns to China for help with rare earths extraction

 Rostec subsidiary RT-Global Resources is in talks with potential Chinese partners about the possible joint development of  some of Russia’s  rare earths metal deposits, its head of  international cooperation  Viktor Kladov said yesterday.
“It is known that China produces over 90% of rare earth metals worldwide. China is the world leader in the technology of extracting the metals from ore,” he told journalists at the Innoprom international industrial trade fair in Ekaterinburg. “Russia, for its part, has unique deposits of the metals, in the Urals and elsewhere. Unfortunately, there is a certain obstacle: China has restrictions on transfer of the technology to foreign partners. At present, our Chinese partners are resolving this issue with the Chinese authorities.” 
The announcement is yet another sign that Russia’s economic troubles are making it increasingly reliant on its eastern neighbour; less than two years ago, Moscow announced it was to  invest $1bn in rare earths production by 2018 in a bid to become less dependent on China, which controls more than 90% of global supply of the elements used in sectors including defence, telecommunications and renewable energy.
Up to that point, the Lovozero mine in Murmansk  had been the country’s  only rare earth producing mine. In 2013 the  TriArkMining JV was set up between Rostec and billionaire Alexander Nexis’s  ICT Group to acquire and process nearly 83,000 tons of rare-earth concentrate stockpiled for more than 60 years in warehouses of state-owned Uralmonatsit in the Sverdlovsk region. The JV was also tasked with developing the Tomtor deposit in the Yakutia region, which is estimated to contain 150mt of rare earths reserves including ytrium, niobium oxides, scandium and terbium.

Source: rbth