Rotenberg to establish Russia’s largest antimony production
Igor Rotenberg, a well-known Russian businessman close to Russian President Vladimir Putin together with Siman Povarenkin, a Russian entrepreneur and the owner of GeoProMining, an international gold and copper mining company, have officially announced their plans for the building of a plant for the production of antimony in the Russian Ekaterinburg region.
The new plant will have the capacity to produce over 6,000 tonnes of antimony per year, while its commissioning will allow to fully refuse from the further imports of antimony to Russia and the CIS states. It is planned that the new plant will be officially commissioned by 2017 and, in addition to antimony, will have the capacity to produce up to 230 kg of dore gold per year. Financial details of the project are not disclosed.
The new plant will consume about 10,000 tonnes of gold-antimony concentrate per year, which is expected to be provided by GeoProMining from the company’s fields in Yakutia.
According to estimates of GeoProMining, global production of antimony in 2013 amounted to 180,000 tonnes, including 35,000 tonnes of the second generation.
Russia accounted for only 7% of the world total production (10,000 tonnes), while China – 65%. At the same time, according to data of the US Geological Survey, the world’s proven reserves of antimony are estimated at 1.76 million tons, of which China accounts for 45%, while Russia – 20%. Among the other countries with rich reserves are Bolivia – 18%, Kyrgyzstan – 7%. The results for 2014 are currently not available.
At the same time, according to another report of the US Geological Survey, long-term antimony reserves are estimated at 3.9 million tons, of which China accounts for 62%, while Russia – 10%.
Get our daily investorintel update
In the meantime, in addition to Rotenberg, there is a possibility that the production of antimony in Russia may soon be launched by the local mining giant Norilsk Nickel, which in recent months has been forced to cut implementation of the majority of its overseas projects, due to Western sanctions.
Currently the company operates the large Solonechenskoye antimony field, which is located in the Transbaikalia, (a mountainous region to the east of Lake Baikal in Russia) and which has reserves of 580,000 tonnes of ore, accounting for 18% of all Russian antimony stocks. The company is considering the possibility of the establishment of new antimony production in Russia.
It is planned that the development of the field may take place in cooperation with Chinese investors.
At present Russian has strong connections with China in the field of antimony trade, which is reflected by official statistics, in accordance to which Russia became the largest exporter of antimony ores and concentrates to China in 2014 with a share of 28%, which is equivalent to about 18,000 tonnes.
At the same time, according to plans of the Russian government, the volume of antimony production in Russia should be significantly increased during the next several years. It is planned that, in addition to Rotenberg’s project, Krasnoyarsk region of the country, and in particular on the local antimony deposits, which are located in the Yenisei Ridge in the North-Yenisei and Motyginskiy areas. At the same time there are also plans for the active development of Udereysky gold-antimony field with the volume of reserves of 34,000 tonnes, which is located in the same Yenisei Ridge.
Earlier this year the government of the Magadan region, a port region, located on the Sea of Okhotsk, signed an investment agreement with Southwest China mining company, one of China’s largest mining companies, on the development of antimony and silver fields in the Tenkin area of the region. The volume of investments in the project at the initial stage is estimated at US$50 million with a possibility of a significant increase during the next several years.
As part of the project, the partners plan to focus on the development of three local fields, and in particular Utro (antimony and silver), “Senon” and “Septyabryskoe (gold and silver).
At present the Magadan region ranks the first Russian region in terms of silver production of silver and the fourth in terms of gold. In 2014, it produced 24.1 tons of gold and 961 tons of silver.
Eugene Gerden is an international free-lance writer, based in St. Petersburg, who specializes on writing in the field of mining, metals and rare earth metals. ... <Read more about Eugene Gerden>