Kazakhstan to Ramp up Rare Earth Production

by | 30. Apr 2024 - 10:13 | Economy

The Central Asian country hosts numerous mineral deposits and could become a major player in the industry.

The landlocked Central Asian country of Kazakhstan is poised to become a major rare earth producer, according to government plans. This week, Minister of Industry and Construction Kanat Sharlapaev stated that a plan to ramp up the development of the “rare and rare-earth metals industry” has already been approved. Part of the plan is an increase in investment and production volume of 40 percent, according to the news agency Kazinform. Rare metals is a broader term encompassing metals that occur infrequently in Earth’s crust, such as lithium or tungsten. Despite not playing a significant role in the rare earth industry at the moment, Kazakhstan hosts 160 rare earth element-bearing mineral occurrences that could possibly be mined if exploration efforts are successful. Currently, the Kazakh National Geological Service holds a list of 15 rare earth deposits, according to The Astana Times.

In the past years, countries worldwide have increased efforts to seek alternative sources of supply besides industry leader China. This also extends to other critical raw materials, such as lithium. In addition, Kazakhstan is by far the largest producer of uranium, mining 21,227 tons in 2022, according to the World Nuclear Association. On these grounds, multiple countries and governments, such as France, the European Union, and the United Kingdom, have concluded partnerships with Kazakhstan in recent years.

Photo: iStock/freedarst

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