21 Sep 2023 12:55

Imports of feedstock for lithium production in Russia have stabilized - TVEL

NOVOSIBIRSK. Sept 21 (Interfax) - The situation with raw materials for lithium extraction has stabilized, there is currently no shortage of raw materials for lithium production in Russia, Mikhail Metelkin, Director of the TVEL JSC Special Chemistry business unit, said in Novosibirsk on Thursday.

"Right at the current moment, the shortage of raw materials is over, although recently we experienced difficulties with raw material supply, supply was limited and the price was rising. Now the situation on the lithium market has stabilized, the price has fallen from $80 [per 1 kg] to below $30, and there is sufficient supply," he said.

The countries of origin of raw materials are currently China, Bolivia and Chile, he said.

"This does not mean that we buy directly from them, it is related to supply chains," Metelkin said.

At the same time, he said, the development of the Kolmozerskoye deposit will cover Russia's current demand for lithium.

"There are plans to produce 45,000 tonnes [per year] there, now this volume meets the needs of the Russian market. Nevertheless, we see how lithium is developing and demand is continuously increasing, so it cannot be ruled out that in the near future attention will turn to some other deposits," he said.

As reported, auctions for lithium deposits in the Murmansk region were held in February. The license for the Kolmozerskoye deposit with reserves of 844,000 tonnes of lithium was purchased by a joint venture of Nornickel and Rosatom; with the starting price of the auction at 1.562 billion rubles, it paid 1.718 billion rubles. Arctic Lithium won the auction for Polmostundrovskoye deposit with reserves of 352,000 tonnes, paying 672 million rubles while the starting price had been 611 million rubles. According to the Industry and Trade Ministry, TD Halmek and Chemical-Metallurgical Plant will begin lithium mining at the Polmostundrovskoye site in pilot mode as early as this year.

Earlier, the Natural Resources Ministry reported that a total of 7 deposits containing lithium ores, as well as other strategically scarce types of minerals, are due to be made available for use in 2023-2024.