Polar Lithium (a joint venture between Rosatom and Norilsk Nickel) plans to produce the first pilot batch of lithium in 2026.
This was announced by the 1st Deputy General Director of Atomredmetzoloto (ARMZ, mining division of Rosatom) A. Shemetov during a dialogue with stakeholders. On the main results of the mining division’s activities in 2023.
Theses by A. Shemetov:
- initially the start of lithium production was planned for 2029, but now we want to launch the 1st stage in the volume of 5 thousand tons in 2026;
- the total volume of approved ARMZ investments in the lithium project is about 49 billion rubles;
- the immediate task for 2024 is the development of technology for extracting lithium from spodumene ore.
Let us recall that on February 9, 2023, it became known that Polar Lithium received the right to use the largest lithium deposit in Russia - Kolmozerskoye.
The auction for the right to use the deposit was held by Rosnedra.
The initial one-time payment amounted to 1.56 billion rubles, the period of use of the site was 20 years.
Polar lithium received a license to develop the Kolmozerskoye deposit in the Murmansk region in 2023.
The deposit contains 18.9% of Russia's lithium reserves and is the most promising lithium ore deposit in the country.
The predicted resources of the deposit in category P1 are 13.5 million tons of ore and 152.6 thousand tons of lithium oxide.
On January 18, 2024, it became known that Rosatom and Norilsk Nickel had additionally capitalized their parity joint venture Polar Lithium to RUB 2.63 billion.
According to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities:
Polar Lithium LLC was registered on July 11, 2022 in Moscow. The authorized capital of Polar Lithium LLC is 2,625,653,075.74 rubles, the corresponding change was made to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities on December 27, 2023 (before that, the company’s authorized capital was 1 million rubles), the participation shares of the founders have not changed.
The company is 50% owned by ARMZ, 50% owned by Norilsk Nickel Technical Services LLC (Norilsk Nickel structure).
The company's additional capitalization may be associated with the entry of the project for the development of the Kolmozerskoye lithium deposit into the active phase of implementation.
Lithium ore reserves at the deposit amount to 75 million tons or 18.9% of Russian reserves of this metal. The forecast resources of lithium oxide in category P1 are 152.6 thousand tons, tantalum pentoxide - 1.215 thousand tons, niobium pentoxide - 1.485 thousand tons. The Polar Lithium license is valid until February 20, 2043, the one-time payment amounted to 1.718 billion rubles. The Kolmozerskoye field development project involves the production of lithium carbonate and hydroxide in the amount of 45 thousand tons/year. To achieve this production volume, it is planned to ensure an ore extraction volume of 2 million tons/year, i.e. The deposit's reserves suggest up to 40 years of production.
In the 2nd quarter of 2025, Polar Lithium plans to approve reserves of the Kolmozerskoye deposit with the State Reserves Commission, while preliminary geological exploration results suggest the possibility of increasing the volume of reserves approved in the 1960s. The construction of a mining and processing complex (GOK) at the Kolmozerskoye deposit is planned in 2 stages:
- The first stage will be designed for 400 thousand tons of ore per year, its commissioning is scheduled for 2026,
- with the commissioning of the 2nd stage, planned for 2030, production will increase to 2 million tons of ore per year.
Our own production is part of Rosatom’s comprehensive lithium project. The production of lithium-containing raw materials will make it possible to replace imports to Russia of both lithium raw materials and battery components for the production of rechargeable batteries.
RENERA, Rosatom's industry integrator for energy storage devices (part of TVEL, Rosatom's fuel division), has been building a plant for the production of lithium-ion batteries in the Kaliningrad region since October 2022 on the site of the unfinished and frozen Baltic Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in 2013. The capacity of the gigafactory at the 1st stage will be 4 GWh/year (this will allow up to 50 thousand electric vehicles to be supplied with lithium-ion batteries). If demand for the product is confirmed, it is possible to introduce the 2nd and 3rd stages until the total production capacity reaches 14 GWh.