20 Nov 2023 12:47

LGOK mines first ore from central part of Alluaivskoye loparite deposit

MURMANSK. Nov 20 (Interfax) - Lovozersky GOK LLC (LGOK), a rare earth ore mine and processing plant in Murmansk Region that was folded into Rosatom mining division Atomredmetzoloto (ARMZ) earlier this year, has begun mining the central part of the Alluaivskoye loparite deposit, the company reported.

LGOK said its geologists believe the central part of the deposit has a rich malignite seam. It was previously not mined due to difficult geological conditions.

The first tonnes of ore have already been lifted and work has begun on three new stopes. A total of 14 stopes will be mined.

LGOK said this will make it possible to provide a stable supply of raw material to Russia's only producer of rare earth elements, the Solikamsk Magnesium Plant (SMZ) .

Mining at the deposit has been underway since 1939 at the Karnasurt mine, but under LGOK's previous owners prepared ore reserves were almost depleted, the company said.

LGOK began modernizing the Karnasurt processing plant and mine in September, which is expected to make it possible to increase production in future.

LGOK is Russia's only miner and processor of loparite ore, from which rare earth metals are extracted for subsequent use in industry. SMZ produces magnesium and rare metal products, such as niobium, tantalum, titanium, among others. It exports magnesium alloys, primary magnesium, niobium and tantalum pentoxide and pentachloride, rare earth metal carbonates, titanium sponge and potassium chloride. SMZ gets its raw materials from LGOK.

Russia's Federal Property Agency transferred a controlling stake in LGOK to Rosatom in May 2023 and the state nuclear corporate acquired full control of the company in mid-August. Rosatom said it plans to increase LGOK's capacity and set up production of individual concentrates of rare earth elements.