19 Apr 2023 16:21

Russian Natural Resources Ministry planning to license another 7 lithium deposits in 2023-2024

MOSCOW. April 19 (Interfax) - Seven deposits containing lithium ores, as well as other strategic scarce minerals, such as niobium, beryllium and tantalum, are due to be made available for use in 2023-2024, Russia's Natural Resources Ministry said.

The deposits are located in the Murmansk and Irkutsk Regions, as well as in Tuva, Buryatia and Transbaikal Territory.

In February, there were already auctions held for the largest lithium deposits in the Murmansk Region: the license for the Kolmozerskoye deposit was purchased by a joint venture of Nornickel and Rosatom; while TD Halmek and Chemical and Metallurgical Works (KhMZ) will start pilot lithium production this year at the Polmostundrovskoye deposit, the Industry and Trade Ministry said.

Russia has one of the largest raw material bases of lithium in the world, ranking among the top five reserve-holding countries. Reserves across 14 deposits amount to 3.5 million tonnes of lithium oxide.

The bottom waters of oil and gas fields could also become promising sources of lithium, the Natural Resources Ministry said. Technologies are currently being developed to recover lithium and other associated components from formation brines of Kovykta, Yarakta and other fields.

The Natural Resources Ministry has implemented additional measures to support investors in lithium projects: the mineral extraction tax has been reduced 10-fold for 10 years, the starting one-time payment of auctions for deposits has been reduced 10-fold, special conditions for licensing with a focus on deep processing have been established, licensing of deposits has been prioritized, with terms shortened as much as possible, and opportunities maximized for projects to extract lithium from associated water of oil and gas fields.