Kazatomprom and Sumitomo Corporation opened rare earth metals production plant02.11.2012
On November 2, 2012 the opening ceremony of the new rare earth metals (REM) concentrates production complex took place in Stepnogorsk city of Akmolinskaya oblast. The plant was built by Summit Atom Rare Earth Company (SARECO), the joint Kazakhstan-Japan venture.
Vladimir Shkolnik, NAC Kazatomprom Chairman of the Board and Furihata Toru, Member of the Board and Senior Managing Executive Officer of Sumitomo Corporation cut the symbolic ribbon.
Acting Chairman of the Industry Committee of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Yerzhan Karibayev, Deputy Akim of Akmolinskaya oblast, Eduard Kvyatkovskiy, Managing Director of JSC NWF Samruk-Kazyna, Kuanysh Bektemirov, took part in the solemn ceremony. Japanese delegation was represented by the Vice-minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan, Yosuke Kondo, Executive Director of Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), Nagatomo Tetsuji, and Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Japan, Harada Yuzo.
About $30 million were invested into the REM pilot production in Stepnogorsk city by the participants of SARECO in accordance with their participatory interests in the charter capital: NAC Kazatomprom JSC - 51% and Sumitomo Corporation - 49% accordingly
The plant represents the unique complex of thermal and hydrometallurgical processing of different types of raw materials, and symbolizes the work performed jointly by Kazakhstani, Japanese and European scientists and engineers. The plant was designed and constructed in compliance with all requirements of environmental standards.The technology and control systems applied are environmentally sound. SARECO’s plant is designed to produce 1,500 tons of TREO (amount of REM oxides) per year, with the annual capacity increase in 2015 up to 3,000 tons of TREO, and up to 5,000-6,000 tons of TREO by 2017. The major part of production will be comprised of the REM of so called heavy group, which is in great demand nowadays.
The main target market of SARECO is Japanese market.
Speaking at the opening of the plant, the head of NAC Kazatomprom Vladimir Shkolnik noted that «the project is aimed at industrial and infrastructural development of the region – Akmolinskaya region, and particularly, Stepnogorsk city, and this corresponds to the principles specified by Industrial -and R&D Development State Program.The commissioning of this plant will employ around 250 Kazakhstan specialists with diverse required skillsand will have positive impact on the social development of the region».
The enterprise will not restrict itself to the production of its primary product – the bulk REM concentrate., An isotope separation process is expected to be established on Kazakhstan territory by 2015, provided that the production has a long-term raw material source. Some years later, one should expect production of rare earth metals magnets.During the ceremonial opening of the plant the heads of Kazatomprom and Sumitomo Corporation signed the Project Agreement defining the further steps of SARECO strategy development implementation. SARECO also signed supply agreements with Sumitomo Corporation, Shin-Etsu Chemicals and Rhodia.
Rare earth metals based production is a new direction of Republic of Kazakhstan industrial-innovative development that bringsmore value-added high technology production in the country and allows for entering REM market.