Kazakhstan can meet India’s demands for rare-earths – ET Auto

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Kazakhstan has 15 rare earth deposits, strategically important components of electronics and clean energy technology, and eyes for closer cooperation with international partners in harnessing the ample opportunities for these deposits, according to Chairman of the National Geological Service Yerlan Galiyev.

This can meet India’s growing demands for rare earth deposits from a source which is situated closer home. India has recently entered into a deal with Argentina for sourcing rare earth metals. The topic of rare earth metals has become more prominent in discussions between Kazakh officials and their foreign partners. As the demand for rare metals is expected to grow in the coming years, officials assert Kazakhstan can meet this demand.

“In industry, rare earth metals are used both in mixed form and individually, with metal oxides predominantly employed. They are primarily used as alloying additives in various steels and alloys, getters [gas absorbers] in electronic devices, manufacturing magnetic materials and igniter mixtures, serving as catalysts, and hydrogen storage materials in the production of special types of glass, ceramics, and in nuclear technology,” Galiyev told leading Kazakhstan daily Astana Times.

As the world is in the midst of a transition to clean technology, demand for rare earth metals is growing. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates rare earth elements may see three to seven times higher demand in 2040 than today, depending on the choice of wind turbines and the strength of policy support.

Rare earth metals refer to a group of 17 elements in the periodic table, which include 15 lanthanides, as well as scandium and yttrium. They are used as components in high-technology devices, including smartphones, digital cameras, computer hard disks, fluorescent and light-emitting-diode (LED) lights and computer monitors. They are also used in clean energy and even defense technologies.

Data from the National Geological Service also indicates Kazakhstan possesses a raw material base of rare metals, including tungsten with 2.2 million tons of reserves, molybdenum with one million tons, lithium with 75,600 tons, tantalum with 4,600 tons, niobium with 28,100 tons, beryllium with 58,000 tons, among others.

In his address to the nation in September 2023, Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said developing deposits of rare and rare-earth metals should be a priority task. He described these metals as a “new oil.”

  • Published On Jan 21, 2024 at 11:00 AM IST

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