Russia to invest $1 billion in rare earths to cut dependence on China
By Gleb Stolyarov
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will invest $1 billion in rare earths production by 2018 in a bid to become less dependent on China, which controls more than 90 percent of global supply of the elements used in sectors including defense, telecommunications and renewable energy.
The United States, Japan and the European Union have complained to the World Trade Organization about China's efforts to control the sector, saying China is trying to use its stranglehold over supply to drive up prices and gain a competitive advantage.
Rostec and IST group, an investment company belonging to Russian tycoon Alexander Nesis, have agreed to invest $1 billion in rare earths production by 2018, they said in a statement on Tuesday.
Rostec aims to cover Russian demand for these raw materials by 2017, the company added.
"The (Russian) President (Vladimir Putin) and the government have set a task to expand rare earths production as Russia's stocks are almost depleted," a source in state industrial and defense conglomerate Rostec told Reuters on Tuesday.
"Stocks need to be replenished as the main producer, China, has increased prices sharply," the source said.
TriArkMining, a joint venture (JV) between Rostec and IST, has won the right to acquire 82,653 tonnes (1.1023 tons) of monazite concentrate, stored in warehouses of state-owned Uralmonatsit in the Sverdlovsk region of Russia's Urals.
The JV plans to extract about 40,000 tonnes of rare earths from the monazite concentrate stored in the warehouses over the course of seven or eight years starting from 2015, the companies said. Continued...