Aluminum   $ 2.1505 kg        |         Cobalt   $ 33.420 kg        |         Copper   $ 8.2940 kg        |         Gallium   $ 222.80 kg        |         Gold   $ 61736.51 kg        |         Indium   $ 284.50 kg        |         Iridium   $ 144678.36 kg        |         Iron Ore   $ 0.1083 kg        |         Lead   $ 2.1718 kg        |         Lithium   $ 29.821 kg        |         Molybdenum   $ 58.750 kg        |         Neodymium   $ 82.608 kg        |         Nickel   $ 20.616 kg        |         Palladium   $ 40303.53 kg        |         Platinum   $ 30972.89 kg        |         Rhodium   $ 131818.06 kg        |         Ruthenium   $ 14950.10 kg        |         Silver   $ 778.87 kg        |         Steel Rebar   $ 0.5063 kg        |         Tellurium   $ 73.354 kg        |         Tin   $ 25.497 kg        |         Uranium   $ 128.42 kg        |         Zinc   $ 2.3825 kg        |         
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In March, Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom signed a Roadmap for Cooperation in the field of critical minerals. This initiative aims to strengthen the partnership by establishing joint ventures within Kazakhstan. Kazinform’s correspondent investigates the benefits that Kazakhstan stands to gain from this collaboration with the UK.

As the world rapidly moves towards a “green” future, the demand for critical minerals is steadily increasing. These minerals, including rare elements and certain metals, are crucial for the economic prosperity and national security of leading nations. The creation of sustainable supply chains and access to these elements’ deposits are at the heart of the UK’s strategy for critical minerals, adopted in July 2022 and updated in March last year.

“We are moving towards a world based on critical minerals: we need lithium, cobalt, and graphite for electric vehicle batteries; silicon and tin for our electronics; rare earth elements for electric vehicles and wind turbines,” states the UK strategy document.

The document emphasizes that critical minerals will become even more significant in the future, with expectations that by 2040, the world will need four times more of these minerals for clean energy technologies.

Participants at the “Energy Transition 2023” conference at the Chatham House in the UK reported that wind generators and electric vehicle manufacturers urgently need neodymium and praseodymium, while suppliers of high-voltage power lines require cobalt and aluminium.

Of the 18 critical minerals identified by the British Geological Survey, eight are already produced in Kazakhstan, with raw material bases for the other eight available in the country. This positions Kazakhstan among the top 10 key partners for the UK in this sector.

Kazakhstan and the UK approved a Roadmap for Strategic Partnership in the field of critical minerals in March 2024. The British side emphasizes “sharing experience in mineral extraction and processing with support for the full lifecycle of raw material extraction,” viewing London as a financial and trade hub. Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Industry and Construction aims to create production with added value for critical raw materials, parts, or components for subsequent delivery to consumer countries.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Construction, Iran Sharkan, noted that the minimum raw material processing threshold for investors matches the intermediate level, meaning goods of low technological complexity or semi-finished products. Specific projects include collaborative work on advanced international practices and modern technology for geological mapping, as well as promoting best practices in regional exploratory and mapping work for critical minerals between the Geological Survey of Kazakhstan and the British Geological Survey.

One existing example of cooperation is the joint venture between MaritimeHouse and “Zhezkazganredmet” for rhenium processing in Kazakhstan. Rhenium is a rare metal mainly used as an alloying addition in the production of heat-resistant alloys essential for high-temperature installations like aircraft engines, industrial gas turbines, and rocket engines.

According to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Industry and Construction, beryllium, tantalum, vanadium, copper, titanium, and phosphorus are already being supplied to the UK market. However, the ministry did not comment on the degree of processing or the form of the exported products in response to Kazinform’s inquiry.

Experts highlight that cooperation with Kazakhstan is vital for the UK to achieve its goals of securing access to mineral resources. Jeff Townsend, founder of the British Critical Minerals Association, stated that about 40% of Kazakhstan’s territory has been fully explored, making it an incredible opportunity to build a continuous supply chain from initial exploration and extraction to early processing stages and subsequent processing and marketing in the UK.

Political changes in Kazakhstan over recent years have made the country more attractive to British companies. However, Townsend noted three challenges: the lack of understanding of Kazakhstan’s business environment among British companies, logistical difficulties in delivering goods to the UK, and competition with Chinese companies. Despite these challenges, the British believe that their technological advantages and expertise will help them overcome these obstacles and maintain their competitiveness.