16 May 2022 14:37

Rare metals mining cluster could be formed in Russia's Irkutsk region - Rosnedra head

MOSCOW. May 16 (Interfax) - A rare metals mining cluster could be created in the Irkutsk region, Russian Federal Agency for Mineral Resources (Rosnedra) head Yevgeny Petrov said in an interview with Interfax.

"We're talking about mining raw materials and initial processing in the Irkutsk region so far. If the domestic battery industry develops there, enterprises for deep processing of raw lithium could spring up, which would give a colossal economic impetus for the development of the region," Petrov said.

Auctions are expected to be held in the fourth quarter for the Goltsovoye (beryllium, lithium, niobium, and tantalum) and Bolshetagninskoye (niobium) deposits in the Irkutsk region, he said.

"Moreover, Gazprom and the Irkutsk Oil Company are forming a cluster there to mine lithium and hydrominerals associated with the bottom waters produced in hydrocarbon production. Demand for lithium in Russia today is more than meager, but this good is in demand on the international market," Petrov said.