Russia’s Largest Lithium Deposit to Go Under Hammer in 2023

Russia’s Largest Lithium Deposit to Go Under Hammer in 2023

Russia’s largest lithium deposit, the Kolmozerskoye field, is set to go up for auction in 2023 with an initial price of 1.6 billion rubles. Heavily sanctioned by western governments, with no easy way to trade with global lithium suppliers, Russia was forced to restart the Kolmozersky lithium project to secure supplies of the metal, an essential ingredient in high-capacity power storage systems.

The deposit, which is located in Russia’s northwest Murmansk region, holds vast reserves of lithium as well as niobium, tantalum, and beryllium.

The Kolmozerskoye deposit had previously been put up for auction by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, but the hefty one-off payment required from a potential buyer meant that ultimately no investors were found. However, in April 2022, Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom and mining giant Norilsk Nickel agreed to set up a joint venture to develop the deposit and further process its raw materials. The JV was called Polar Lithium and was registered in Moscow in July, 2022.


Russia does not mine lithium, which is a key element in the production of batteries, including those used in electric vehicles. Rosatom’s mining arm Atomredmetzoloto had previously announced plans to mine lithium in Russia and potentially in other countries, with a potential investment of over 50 billion rubles ($700 million) and an expected production of up to 50,000 tonnes annually in Russia’s Murmansk and Irkutsk regions by 2030.

Why it matters

The Kolmozerskoye deposit is the largest of its kind in Russia, holding 18.9% of the country’s reserves, or 75 million tonnes. It is also considered the most promising, with forecast resources of 152,600 tonnes of lithium oxide, 1,215 tonnes of tantalum pentoxide, and 1,485 tonnes of niobium pentoxide. icon

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