On 24 March, Kazatomprom and Sumitomo Corporation of Japan finalised an agreement to establish a joint venture - Summit Atom Rare Earth Company (SARECO), which will specialise in the field of rare and rare-earth metals.
Rare and rare-earth elements are the basis for manufacturing of high-technology products. They are widely used in various branches of technology, including nuclear engineering.
Kazatomprom will own 51% of SARECO, with Sumitomo Corporation taking the remaining 49%. The JV’s principal office will be in Ust-Kamenogorsk (Kazakhstan).
Initially SARECO will be engaged in the development of Feasibility Study (FS) of rare and rare-earth metals manufacturing. The project will look at construction and commissioning of mining & processing complex, hydrometallurgical production of REM bulk concentrates, chemical production operations for REM separation into individual metal oxides. Uranium tailing ponds, uranium ores in-situ leaching solutions and mineral deposits of rare-earth metals will be used as potential sources of rare and rare-earth compounds and metals. Besides this, the new JV will deal with export and sale of finished product.
It is expected that Summit Atom Rare Earth Company will start its operations in June 2010.