Sumitomo starting rare earth production in Kazakhstan
Sumitomo Corporation hereby announced that Summit Atom Rare Earth Company LLP, a JV between the company and Kazakhstan's National Atomic Company, Kazatomprom (Head Office: Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan; Chairman of the Board Mr Shkolnik Vladimir), completed construction and opened its first factory in Stepnogorsk on November 2nd 2012. SARECO was established in May 2010 in Kazakhstan to develop and launch a business recovering rare earth elements from uranium ore residue and has been preparing to commence operations.
The new factory will begin manufacturing mixed rare earth carbonate with a high content of dysprosium and neodymium, elements for which demand is expected to rise in the coming years due to the growing popularity of hybrid and electric cars. The factory has set an annual output target of 1,500 tonnes during the initial years and also plans to start exporting to Japan in January 2013. In addition, SARECO is working to enhance its business by developing processing systems to isolate individual elements from rare earth mix to produce high purity products in cooperation with Shin Etsu Chemical Company Limited which will provide technological support.
The opening of the manufacturing site was celebrated honorably, with invitations extended to representatives from concerned Japanese and Kazakh public agencies including: Mr Yosuke Kondo State Minister, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Yuzo Harada, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Kazakhstan; Mr Tetsuji Nagatomo Executive Director of Japan Oil, Gas and Metals Corporation (JOGMEC); Mr Kuanysh Bektemirov MD of JSC Sovereign Wealth Fund Samruk Kazyna and Mr Yerzhan Karibayev acting chairman of Industry Committee, Ministry of Industry and New Technologies; Mr Eduard Kvyatkovskiy deputy Akim, Akmolinskaya oblast.
Building solid systems to ensure a stable supply of rare earth elements is considered as one of the top priorities in promoting expansion and sophistication of Japan's high-tech industry and driving technological innovation in the sector. Recognizing this, Sumitomo Corporation will make substantial contributions to meeting this challenge through this Kazakh project in cooperation with the Japanese government and JOGMEC. In Kazakhstan, where the economy has been growing by centering on the development of natural resources including oil, natural gas, uranium and other minerals, rare earths are garnering new focus under the government's resources development projects. We will endeavor to enhance this international project in a public private partnership scheme.
Source - Sumitomo Corporation