Military Review

Fight for metal

The latest reports from the “rare-earth front”: in Russia, ARMZ's uranium holding will produce rare-earth metals; in the Murmansk region will build a plant for the production of rare-earth metals; to 2020, Russia expects to completely abandon the import of rare earth metals; The West is waging an economic war against China in order to reduce its monopolistic position on the market of rare-earth metals; China’s rare earth industry is losing market; the Japanese reduced the import of rare-earth metals through the use of new processing technologies.

Rare earth metals include cerium, lanthanum, praseodymium, neodymium, samarium, europium, ytterbium, gadolinium, and herbium. These metals are a valuable raw material for the industrial production of LEDs, phosphors, catalysts, crystals for high-power lasers and superconducting magnets. In fact, this is a strategic raw material used in high-tech industries: space, aviation, nuclear industry, electronics, instrument making.

Russia, which produces only 1,4% REM from world production, is almost completely dependent on foreign supplies.

The leading “earner” is China (92,1%). It is followed by the USA (by 2 with a small percentage). Minor amounts of metals are mined in Malaysia and Brazil. This concludes the short list.

As Mikhail Bakalinsky believes ("Geopolitics"), the international "rare-earth front" today is directed against China, in the depths of which 97% of world reserves of rare-earth metals are concentrated.

It would seem, how to fight? Missiles and bombs? No, we are talking about war without weapons. And even without economics. We are dealing with a war of propagandists, a war of information.

“... with enviable regularity, the sectoral agencies of the“ democratic countries of the West ”make sensational statements about the discovery of enormous reserves of rare earth elements capable of swinging the pendulum away from China. So, the New Year's gift to Chinese partners within a few days before 2013 began was statements by the “completely unbiased” Institute of International Studies of Denmark about the possible presence in the depths of Greenland (the subject of the same Denmark with extended autonomy) REE deposits, in particular niobium and tantalum, which could provide 20% of global demand. Subsequently, however, the triumph was replaced by a strong disappointment due to the fact that precious REEs in the bowels of Greenland are in conjunction with radioactive uranium, which makes their mining dangerous for the entire ecosystem of the island, and the raw materials themselves - unsuitable.

Further information fighters moved to Canada. The budget-2014 of this state has funding for research work in the field of geological exploration to confirm the reserves of REE and the construction of the first mine for their production. Already they say that “the country of maple syrup and beavers” by 2018 year expects to control 20% of the global market for REE.

After the annexation of the Crimea to Russia, which China did not particularly object to, the “completely unbiased” Federal Institute of Geological Sciences and Natural Resources of the Federal Republic of Germany made an “expert conclusion” that China’s share in the REE market decreased from 97,6% (2010) to three years 92,1% (December 2013).

The analyst recalls that the West, carrying out a “rare earth crusade” against the Middle Kingdom, acted through the system of WTO organs. In the framework of recent trials between China, the United States, the EU and Japan regarding restrictions on the extraction of REE, which introduced Beijing, the WTO court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. However, the introduction of restrictions by Beijing was caused, among other things, by the illegal mining of REE in the territory of the Middle Kingdom with subsequent illegal export, and the metals are strategic.

Another blow to China was struck in May 2014. The US National Academy of Sciences, the EU, and the Geological Survey of Mexico jointly announced that by 2016, China’s share in the REE market will be reduced to 80%. The Ministry of Economy of Mexico is going to finance geological exploration on the shelf.

In response, Beijing is considering increasing its own production.

But this, we add, is similar to another bluff. After all, recently the Celestial Empire officially announced the restriction of quotas for the extraction of rare-earth metals. "Vesti.Ekonomika"Referring to Reuters, they reported that the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources of China made an official statement in which it resulted in the size of quotas for the extraction of rare-earth metals. In 2013, the quotas were exactly the same as two years ago, 93,8 thousand tons.

At the same time, Beijing denies accusations of monopolism, stating that the restriction of production of rare-earth metals is associated with the government's desire to reduce production damage to the environment.

If we try to look objectively at the question of monopoly and the export of rare-earth metals by China, it will become clear that the Celestial Empire today is giving way. No, not to those players that bluff, but real players. Buyers. First of all Japan.

Ecology and illegal mining is one thing. But the fact is that China itself got involved in the "metal war" - because of the Japanese islands Senkaku.

The principle of refusal of export duties on rare earth metals was established in the WTO back in 2001, when China joined the organization. The refusal was promoted by Japan - a high-tech country in dire need of supplying rare-earth metals. Just from China.

In September, 2010, an incident occurred with Chinese fishing vessels in the Senkaku water area, after which the PRC introduced restrictive measures for the export of rare earth metals to Japan.

This economic and political reception in the near future adversely affected the Chinese trade in rare-earth metals. A blessing in disguise - the Japanese certainly have an analogue of this Russian proverb.

Как пишет Masumi Kawasaki, until after the 2010 incident in the WTO, the issue of REM and Chinese policy was discussed, Japan took over and diversified suppliers. But this is not the main thing. The Japanese were able to quickly develop technologies for the recycling of rare earth metals, which greatly reduced dependence on China.

“Exports collapsed. I give up, ”says a Taiwanese manager of a trading company dealing with Chinese rare earth metals.

The shortage of quotas, said the journalist, is the third year, and the average price per ton of raw materials fell by 60% compared with the previous year. It is believed that the Chinese industry of rare-earth metals is on the brink of ruin.

As for Moscow, it is friendly with Beijing. At the same time, Russia is starting to think about its own mining of rare-earth metals.

According to Alexei Mikhailov ("Russian newspaper"), a plant for the production of rare-earth metals, titanium dioxide and thorium concentrate will be built in the Murmansk region, the raw materials for which will be the perovskite ores from the Afrikanda deposit. Russian industry will get a chance to get rid of the need to buy rare-earth metals abroad.

The pre-project part of the work, as reported by Andrei Trenin, the chairman of the board of directors of the Arkmineral company (project operator), has already been completed. Designing is supposed to begin at the end of the summer.

“We will produce rare metals, including niobium and tantalum, and a whole palette of rare earth metals,” said Comrade Trenin. - It is planned to produce 50 thousand tons of titanium dioxide per year and 7 thousand tons of rare and rare earth metals. The cost of the project is about 8 billion rubles. Now we are negotiating with trading companies and end users ... "

According to scientists, the Kola Peninsula could become the main base for the production of rare-metal materials of strategic purpose. The Murmansk region is able to provide them fully with Russia and other countries.

There is one more June news on the subject of rare earths.

As transmits RIA News", ARMZ uranium holding, which is part of Rosatom, plans to sign cooperation agreements on Russian mining of rare-earth metals with Russian companies.

“The meaning of these agreements is to mine uranium, to start working out industrial technologies for the recovery of rare-earth metals, to work out domestic technologies for obtaining the final product,” the agency’s unnamed spokesman noted.

Works under the agreements will be carried out with the support of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Environment.

RIA “Novosti” reminds that in the autumn of last year, the Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov at a meeting with Vladimir Putin said that Russia expects to completely abandon the import of rare-earth metals by 2020. The program for the development of rare-earth metals will be invested 145 billion rubles, including 23,5 billion from the budget. Rosatom and Rostec are expected to participate in the implementation of the program.

So friendship is friendship, and snuff strategic rare earths - apart. Judging by the Russian plans sounded, by 2020, China’s share in the extraction of rare-earth metals may indeed fall to 80%. And Russia is not bluffing like Denmark.

Observed and commented on Oleg Chuvakin
- especially for

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  1. siberko
    siberko 19 June 2014 09: 18
    Better late than never
    1. I think so
      I think so 21 June 2014 21: 49
      It's strange ... Russia, together with the entire "civilized" world, is en masse trying to THROUGH the Chinese rare earth industry ... For what? The consumption of rare earths in Russia is MICROSCOPIC ... and with such a rate of industrial development, their consumption DOESN'T GROW AT ALL in Russia ... Well, then why is Russia getting involved in this business? And simply because, in order to drive ANOTHER TROUBLE between Russia and China ... To the West, friendship between Russia and China on all issues is like death, so the agents of the West in Russia are fussing here ... There is no other explanation for such plans ...
    2. I think so
      I think so 21 June 2014 21: 59
      First, they would refuse to import FOOD ... and rare-earths can tolerate ... no, China needs to do everything ... and rot their people with Israeli (!) POTATOES ...
      1. atalef
        atalef 21 June 2014 22: 07
        Quote: I think so
        no, it’s necessary to do everything to China ... and spread rot on your people with Israeli (!) POTATO ...

        Offer Belarus, or is it like rare earths — strategic raw materials — not to be exported? laughing
      2. Kvazar
        Kvazar 23 June 2014 18: 32
        A long time ago. Where do you find Israeli potatoes? oo
  2. Mature Hrych
    Mature Hrych 19 June 2014 09: 30
    deliveries of five hundred tons of enriched uranium to America are completed. Now you need to replenish stocks. What a stupid agreement was made at EBN. ..... sell all weapons stock. But to get a kilogram of enriched plutonium or uranium, centrifuges do not stop for years.
    1. Eragon
      Eragon 19 June 2014 10: 21
      Quote: Inveterate Hrych
      But to get a kilogram of enriched plutonium or uranium, centrifuges do not stop for years.

      From 10 kg of uranium, 1 kg of enriched is obtained. Read about the method of obtaining uranium on the wiki. We are not talking about any years or even days. By the way, the world is now overproduction of uranium. In fact, there is nowhere to put it.
      And plutonium is not mined at all; it is "made" from uranium.
    2. The comment was deleted.
    3. Stypor23
      Stypor23 19 June 2014 10: 30
      Victor Chernomyrdin was noted in this field. I turn on the television receiver, and they bury it with state honors, imagine how upset I was when I saw such an undeserved farewell.
      1. atarix
        atarix 20 June 2014 01: 07
        the devils will meet the deserts of all.
        1. Stypor23
          Stypor23 20 June 2014 05: 19
          I would not give up the hotties in mini and with the fourth size.
          1. jagdpanzer
            jagdpanzer 20 June 2014 15: 19
            with the third they will go too)
  3. alekc73
    alekc73 19 June 2014 09: 50
    Everyone needs strategic raw materials.
  4. duchy
    duchy 19 June 2014 09: 54
    Maybe I'm wrong, but relatively recently I read a post on the Internet about our Kulibins, who developed a technology for extracting rare-earth metals from everything where they exist. And it seems, and very, very, that this is precisely on that topic. Forward to the victory.
    1. Ing40
      Ing40 19 June 2014 14: 47
      The technology of associated REM extraction was developed (purely by accident) at the Central Scientific Research Laboratory of NMMCs back in the 80-90s. It is based on the regeneration of the properties of the ion-exchange resin used in uranium mining. It turned out that these elements are part of the sludge from which they are disposed of (they pollute the IOS, reducing its performance). Smart people appreciated the economic effect and clandestinely gained from a few dozen kilos. When trying to implement, they were lit up and even someone was planted. Although, who knows how much they managed to sell? Maybe someone is now in Bali sunbathing and not soared life.
      So, you don’t need to develop anything, very many NMMC specialists now live and work in Russia (many on the Lipetsk MK). To joke them, to give a decent salary, to provide housing and more, to work for the benefit of the historical homeland.
  5. Eragon
    Eragon 19 June 2014 10: 06
    The international "rare earth front" today is directed against China, in the bowels of which 97% of the world's REM reserves are concentrated.

    As far as I remember the geology, rare earth metals are associated "impurities" of "heavy" ores. Like uranium, molybdenum, tungsten. It looks like nickel is on this list. China, it seems, is not the leader in the extraction of these ores. Where then 97% come from?
  6. cerbuk6155
    cerbuk6155 19 June 2014 10: 39
    Great news. But this is strategic production and it must belong to the state. And about the sale of 500 tons of uranium, when converted to oil and getting energy from it, the cost of this gift is 20 trillion dollars. This is one of many of our gifts from the USA and NATO. But time has passed and you will not return it back. soldier
  7. soul
    soul 19 June 2014 11: 10
    Finally, they remembered about this industry. By the way, some experts believe that these metals can be invested as in precious metals.
  8. Jrvin
    Jrvin 19 June 2014 11: 14
    In Transbaikalia, there are most rare earth metals. So where is the mining? as always, no one needs only ory that no.
  9. parusnik
    parusnik 19 June 2014 11: 34
    By 2020, Russia expects to completely abandon the import of rare earth metals; I would like not only to refuse this import ..
    1. I think so
      I think so 21 June 2014 21: 56
      Russia would first give up FOOD IMPORT (!) ... Allegedly, the great is trying, but she cannot feed herself ... thanks to the EBN and the democrats with their ideas such as "a private trader will feed everyone", "farms are more efficient" and we are nonsense .. ...
      1. atalef
        atalef 21 June 2014 22: 09
        Quote: I think so
        Russia would first refuse FOOD IMPORT (!) ... Allegedly, the great is old, but she herself cannot feed ... thanks to EBN

        In general, since the departure of EBN - at least 14 potato harvests have been collected laughing enough already on EBN to blame everything. 14 years is enough to fill up any country in the world with potatoes.
  10. calocha
    calocha 19 June 2014 11: 37
    ALL the most important industries should be concentrated in the same hands - State !!! For 20 years, the PEOPLE have been suffering, and a handful of managers do not know where to buy the stolen land, hectares and front entrances .... And the rent that cost a penny began to cost a third of the salary. ..shame! Education- shame! With whom did Putin decide to go into a brighter future?!?! With a herd of sheep who passed the Unified State Examination ?! Who have a beer, clothes and a well-fed belly in their head. Meditsina is just horrible, they can make the right diagnosis, they can’t do that! Nonsense, the main thing is SOCH shining !! Villages DIE OUT! Agriculture ! But the forum in St. Petersburg! We are waiting for investments from abroad ..... In the stores everything is imported, everything is not tasty - potatoes from Israel (watery can be seen due to the scarcity of the local soil), apples are from Poland (grass-grass) , Brazil beef (and where is Russian ?!)
  11. Vovavvs
    Vovavvs 19 June 2014 12: 05
    I completely agree with you, there is no way without the state! The private industry does not want to spend too much money on development: give it in "pure" form and at a cheaper price ... As a specialist in the extraction of rare earth metals, I would like to add that this is not a raw material problem. Our fields, namely Lovozerskoye, Fedorovskoye, Tomtorskoye, Tagnenskoye + DPRK fields, are not inferior to Chinese ones. The West, too, does not want to invest money in development (except for titanium) in Russia and North Korea, but it was said about ours above. Indeed, China became practically a monopoly after Gorbachev and Yeltsin overwhelmed our REM in Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Estonia. However, after the excitement in the market in 2011, buyers began to stir. At least, for "light" rare earth metals (cerium, lanthanum, neodymium) production has reached one third of the Chinese volume. For "heavy" (europium, yttrium, etc.) China holds the market (the order is true more than 90%)
    1. fennekRUS
      fennekRUS 19 June 2014 14: 00
      I completely agree with you, there is no way without the state! Private industry does not want to spend a lot of money not on development: give it in "pure" form and at a cheaper price ... (c) - that's what we are talking about! Legislative and economic framework for production never created, in contrast to those countries that are worth looking up to. The primary goal of the private trader is the maximum rate of return. Alas, incompetence has become the norm.
  12. Vovavvs
    Vovavvs 19 June 2014 12: 10
    PS The Brazilian state is conducting the right policy in this regard ... At least, its domestic needs for rare-earth metals are already almost closing, although their consumption is growing exponentially over the years.
  13. Vovavvs
    Vovavvs 19 June 2014 12: 25
    PS continued. And it does not take into account any production costs in a remote selva ... And here, the North, is expensive, because Chinese prices are falling: maybe we can! For some reason, Hitler even during the war did not consider it expensive to drive submarines along the Northern Sea Route for REMs, secretly mined in our tundra ...
    1. Vladimirets
      Vladimirets 19 June 2014 12: 44
      Quote: VovaVVS
      For some reason, Hitler even during the war did not consider it expensive to drive submarines along the Northern Sea Route for REMs, secretly mined in our tundra ...

      And many of them secretly have been there in the tundra?
    2. Gecko
      Gecko 19 June 2014 13: 48
      Dried Yagel, probably, Fritz was mined in the tundra, and then smoked ... laughing
  14. Voenruk
    Voenruk 19 June 2014 12: 57
    It is high time! Everyone is just beginning to understand
  15. Free wind
    Free wind 19 June 2014 14: 34
    more than 95% of rare-earth metals are concentrated in China. The production of rare earth metals in China is cheaper than in the whole world, the ores in China are richer and occur at a shallower depth. therefore economically I can’t do nichrome. Honestly, there’s nothing to do with the article, you’ll excuse me. But ,,,, the Japanese in 2011 discovered incredibly rich rare earth deposits in the Pacific Ocean. Deposits stretch east and west of the Hawaiian islands. The number of deposits is approximately 1000 times greater than all the studied REM reserves on earth. Nobody is going to mine yet, but the piece is very tasty, and against the background of a constant increase in prices for rare-earth metals, it is quite possible to start developing mining projects.
  16. Vovavvs
    Vovavvs 20 June 2014 12: 40
    Yes, a normal article! Re-read the title to anyone who didn't get it. There are things where, despite the capitalist upbringing, cheap and expensive is not applicable. A simple (and more open for manipulating with the order of numbers) example is the metal Rhenium, which is often mined together with REM. Production is also measured in kg (albeit in hundreds) and the cost, respectively, from $ 1000 and more per kg and no obvious income for economies ... And for some reason, no one in the world refuses unprofitable production. And the fact is that the film is made of its alloy. used, for example, as a coating for low-flying cruise missiles to protect against overheating in dense layers of the atmosphere. As it is with Pushkin: "you would not be chasing cheapness!"
  17. Vovavvs
    Vovavvs 20 June 2014 12: 48
    especially Chinese!
  18. Vovavvs
    Vovavvs 20 June 2014 13: 00
    PS By the way, among North Koreans, the main difficulties in developing rocket technologies are connected precisely with materials science ... And no friendship with China helps.