Russia to become self-sufficient in ‘critical’ mineral

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The country plans to extract 45,000 tons of lithium annually, a Rosatom representative has revealed

Russia is focusing on lithium production and is gearing up to commence extraction of the valuable mineral at a major deposit located on the Kola Peninsula in the Arctic region, according to the head of the business department at Rosatom subsidiary TVEL.

Mikhail Metyolkin told reporters on Thursday that the strategic move reflects Russia’s ambition to join the ranks of the world’s leading producers of the sought-after ‘white gold.’

The country plans to extract 45,000 tons of lithium annually from the Kola deposit, which will be enough to cover domestic demand, he explained.

“Rosatom has made the first step towards launching lithium production by obtaining a license on the Kola Peninsula. Polar Lithium is a joint venture with [nickel producer] Norilsk Nickel,” Metyolkin said.

There is a growing demand for lithium worldwide since it is used to make lithium-ion batteries, which are vital for most consumer electronics, as well as electric vehicles. The UN has described these batteries as “the critical pillar for building a fossil fuel-free economy,” and Russia has vast reserves of their base materials.

Metyolkin added that soon, Russia will launch extraction of the metal at several other deposits. Moscow is bracing for a major development in its lithium industry, including the construction of full-cycle processing plants.

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