28 March 2019, the “Rare Earth Metals 2019” conference was held in Moscow at the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski. The event was organized by CREON Chemicals. The discussion was attended by representatives of the main participants of the Russian market: the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia, Gazpromneft, VIMS, Erga, Akron, NRNU MEPI, VNIIHT and others.
Rare-earth elements (REE) are one of the most important types of strategic raw materials, ensuring the development of modern high-tech technologies. Today, rare earth elements are necessary for such high-tech civilian industries and the military industrial complex, such as aviation, the aerospace industry, the nuclear industry and radio electronics.
On the territory of the Russian Federation there are significant REE deposits, which are mainly found in remote places of Eastern Siberia. Severe climatic conditions and associated mining difficulties cause high capital intensity of REE development projects.
The Russian market of rare-earth metals is import-dependent and is characterized by low levels of production and consumption. In 2013, the state subprogram “Development of the industry of rare and rare earth metals” was approved: at the expense of the state budget, several facilities are being preliminary developed and attempts are being made to set up their own production base. In the framework of the “Rare Earth Metals 2019” conference, entrepreneurs and profile researchers summed up the interim results and outlined the vector for further development of the industry.
Yuri Kofner, Head of the Eurasian Sector at the Higher School of Economics, Researcher at IIASA took part in the conference and gave a report on “Consolidation of the rare-earth industry in the European Union: recommendations for the Eurasian Economic Union”. Among possible measures, the expert suggested the establishment of a Eurasian rare-earth association, the inclusion of REE industrial corporation in the Main Directions of Industrial Cooperation of the EAEU, the creation of an “REE” Eurasian Technical Platform, inclusion of the REE industry into the Russian import substitution policy. The main challenge and priority is to ensure stable domestic demand for domestic rare earth elements