Nornickel and Rosatom to develop lithium in Arctic

Nornickel and Rosatom to develop lithium in Arctic

February 20, 2023

Polar Lithium, a joint venture between the two companies, got the right to use the Kolmozerskoye deposit.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The joint project of Nornickel and Rosatom – Polar Lithium – got the right to use the largest lithium deposit in Russia – Kolmozerskoye, which is located in the Murmansk region.

The project involves the production of lithium carbonate and hydroxide in the amount of 45 thousand tons per year. These minerals are used, among other things, in the production of rechargeable batteries, an industry that is rapidly developing both in Russia and abroad.

“The partners plan to create a large-scale integrated production, from mining and processing to high-tech products, which will create more than a thousand new jobs and will replace the import of both lithium raw materials and battery components to Russia”, Nornickel’s press service said.

The auction for the right to use the subsoil plot for geological study, exploration and production of minerals was conducted by the Federal Agency for Subsoil Use (Rosnedra). The starting size of the one-time payment for the subsoil use amounted to 1.56 billion rubles, and the period of the site use was 20 years.

“The Kolmozerskoye project starts at the right time, when the demand for lithium in the production of electric vehicles and energy storage devices is growing rapidly”, commented Sergey Stepanov, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Nornickel. “Partnership with Rosatom provides the project with the maximum set of competencies and joint integration into all areas of the battery industry”.

As noted by Igor Demidov, the Polar Lithium general director, the deposit development will provide an opportunity to create the first domestic production of lithium-containing raw materials and, ultimately, a completely Russian production of high-tech products in the form of traction lithium-ion batteries:

“Thus, by complementing each other’s capabilities and assets, the interaction between the state corporation Rosatom and Nornickel will accelerate the construction of a full-cycle industry – from ore to energy storage”.

Recall that the Kolmozerskoye field was discovered in 1947. This is the most promising Russian lithium deposit, which also contains beryllium, niobium and tantalum.

In the near future, Nornickel Technical Services and a specialized enterprise of the Rosatom Mining Divisio – Rusburmash – will begin additional geological exploration of the deposit. It is planned to complete the design and exploration work in a few years, and to reach the design capacity by 2030.

Nornickel adheres to a strategy of sustainable growth, taking into account the interests of local communities and environmental risks. In connection with the prospects for the development of the project from 2022, the company consults with the Sami people, local communities, public organizations and reindeer herding farms’ representatives.

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Text: Anzhelika Stepanova, Photo: Denis Kozhevnikov and Nornickel press service

February 20, 2023

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