Rare Earths: Uzbekistan Seeks to Ramp up Production

by | 2. May 2024 - 10:15 | Politics

500 million dollars planned to be invested in rare earth projects.

The Central Asian country of Uzbekistan wants to become a major producer of rare earths and will invest 500 million dollars in corresponding projects. This was announced by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, as reported by Powder Metallurgy Review. According to Mirziyoyev, existing deposits of critical raw materials are set to be developed, and new ones are to be explored.

Uzbekistan’s mining industry reached a production volume worth almost eleven billion dollars last year, with precious and non-ferrous metals accounting for the largest share, but there is also considerable untapped potential for critical minerals. A 2018 study (PDF) by the U.S. Geological Survey identified 87 deposits of rare earths and rare metals. One potential customer would be the European Union, which wants to become less dependent on rare earth imports from the quasi-monopolist China and with which Uzbekistan signed a memorandum of understanding on critical raw materials just over a month ago.

Neighboring Kazakhstan, with which the EU is also linked by a raw materials agreement, has also recently announced a significant expansion of its rare earth industry (we reported). The country is considerably larger than Uzbekistan and, according to its own information, has 15 deposits of rare earth metals with 160 rare earth element-bearing mineral occurrences.

Photo: iStock/Oleksii Liskonih

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