28 June 2011, 18:48

Russia to foray into rare earth metals market

Russia to foray into rare earth metals market

China has announced the restriction on export of its rare earth metals, pointing in this connection to Russia’s soon-to-be-increased role on the rare earth metals market, of which China is the leader.

China has announced the restriction on export of its rare earth metals, pointing in this connection to Russia’s soon-to-be-increased role on the rare earth metals market, of which China is the leader.  

Right now, Russia has a whole array of deposits of such metals, which include cerium, erbium and terbium and which are widely used in technology applications ranging from LSDs and cell phones to missile systems. The next few years may see a global battle for the possession of what is billed as metals of the future.

In an interview with the Voice of Russia on Tuesday, Dinur Galifanov, a Moscow-based investment expert, pointed to the market’s rapid reaction to China’s move.

"With rare earth metal prices already on the rise, consumer countries are finding ways to produce alternative sources or develop their own rare earth metal fields – a process that may come to a close by 2017, Galifanov says. Needless to say, the prices and demand for such metals will continue to grow," he goes on to say.

As for Russia, it remains the world’s second-largest producer of rare earth metals after China, Galifanov explained, adding that a wide array of fields is yet to be developed.

"Suffice it to mention a raft of rare earth metal fields in the Murmansk region and the city of Chita, the development of which has yet to get the go-ahead from the government," Galifanov says.

Earlier this year, huge deposits of rhenium, germanium, indium, hafnium and other rare earth metals were discovered on the Kuril Islands in the Russian Far East. As for rhenium, which is used in oil, metal and electronic industries, its annual production in Russia may soon amount to more than 26 tons, experts said.

They point to rare earth metals’ ever-increasing role in developing industrial and innovation technologies, which in turn prompts developed countries to collaborate more with the leading rare earth metal suppliers. In this sense, the next few years may see Russia’s further foray into the unique market of rare earth metals.

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