Geology authority expects $10 bln investment in extraction of critical, strategic minerals in Ukraine
The State Service for Geology and Subsoil of Ukraine, together with UkraineInvest Investment Promotion Office, expects about $10 billion in investments in the development of areas with deposits of critical and strategic minerals, in particular, lithium, titanium, uranium, nickel, cobalt, niobium and others.
The plans were announced by Head of the State Service for Geology and Subsoil Roman Opimakh and Executive Director of UkraineInvest Serhiy Tsivkach during the presentation of the investment potential of Ukraine at the "Minerals of the Future" press conference held on Tuesday.
At the press conference, 30 investment objects were presented – areas with deposits of non-ferrous, rare-earth metals and other minerals.
According to the speakers, the available resources and prospects for the development of future minerals will allow the development of new modern industries in Ukraine. At the same time, the State Service for Geology and Subsoil intends to attract investors to the development of these types of minerals by putting objects up for transparent auctions. UkraineInvest, which is working to attract foreign investment to the Ukrainian economy, will include these lots in the UkraineInvest Guide and provide the necessary support at all stages of attracting investors.
"Their comprehensive development, according to our estimates, will attract more than $10 billion of investments to Ukraine," Opimakh said during the presentation.
The first group was represented by areas with lithium deposits. In Ukraine, there is one of the largest areas in Europe with proven reserves and predicted lithium resources, which is used to manufacture batteries for phones, computers and electric vehicles, as well as for special glass and ceramics.
Currently, there are two explored deposits and two previously explored areas of lithium ores, as well as a number of ores with occurrence of lithium mineralization. Lithium is not mined in Ukraine. One site is licensed, and only three sites can be put up for auction. Moreover, two sites have judicial burdens.
Titanium lots will also be auctioned. Ukraine is one of the ten leading countries in the world in terms of proven reserves of titanium ores and provides more than 6% of their global production. Some 27 deposits and more than 30 ore occurrences in various degrees of exploration were recorded. Now only alluvial placers are being developed – about 10% of all explored reserves. Seven sites are planned to be put up for auction.
Lots for non-ferrous metals are lots for nickel, cobalt, chromium, copper, molybdenum. Ukraine possesses significant deposits of non-ferrous metals and imports them in significant volumes for its own needs. Explored deposits and ore occurrences are complex and concentrated mainly within the Ukrainian Shield. They are not mined at all or in very small quantities. At the same time, mining reserves are: 215,000 tonnes for nickel, 8,800 tonnes for cobalt, 453,000 tonnes for chromium oxide, 3.120 million tonnes predicted for chromium oxide, and 95,000 tonnes for copper.
"We have offered six objects, one is put up for auction, which will take place on March 12, 2021," the head of the State Service for Geology and Subsoil said.
Objects of rare earth and rare metals – tantalum, niobium, beryllium, zirconium, scandium – will also be put up for auction. Rare and rare earth metals are found in complex deposits and ore occurrences within the Ukrainian Shield. Zirconium and scandium are concentrated in alluvial and primary deposits in significant volumes, and they are not being mined. The reserves of tantalum oxide (Ta2O5,) niobium, beryllium are at six deposits, mining is carried out at two of them. An auction is planned for one of the areas on February 15; a total of three areas will be put up for auction.
As for gold ore deposits, seven deposits have been recorded, licenses have been issued for five, mining is still being carried out at the Muzhiyivske deposit. One area was sold at an auction in December 2020, three more areas are planned to be put up for auction.
New areas for the production of fossil fuel will also be put up for auction (one of the auctions will take place on April 21, 2021, two more are being prepared). The investment map contains two areas with uranium-containing ores, the reserves of which are not specified.
Opimakh said that the projects for the extraction of minerals will be implemented for at least five years, since these are long-term projects: "These are capital-intensive projects with long implementation periods."