Nov. 05, 2012
Starting rare earth production in Kazakhstan
Sumitomo Corporation (Head office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President and CEO: Kuniharu Nakamura) hereby announce that Summit Atom Rare Earth Company LLP (SARECO), a joint venture between the company and Kazakhstan's National Atomic Company, Kazatomprom (Head Office: Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan; Chairman of the Board: Shkolnik Vladimir), completed construction and opened its first factory in Stepnogorsk on November 2, 2012. SARECO was established in May 2010 in Kazakhstan to develop and launch a business recovering rare earth elements from uranium-ore residue, and has been preparing to commence operations.
The new factory will begin manufacturing mixed rare earth carbonate with a high content of dysprosium and neodymium, elements for which demand is expected to rise in the coming years due to the growing popularity of hybrid and electric cars. The factory has set an annual output target of 1,500 tons during the initial years and also plans to start exporting to Japan in January 2013. In addition, SARECO is working to enhance its business by developing processing systems to isolate individual elements from rare earth mix to produce high-purity products in cooperation with Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd., which will provide technological support.
The opening of the manufacturing site was celebrated honorably, with invitations extended to representatives from concerned Japanese and Kazakh public agencies, including: Yosuke Kondo, State Minister, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Yuzo Harada, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Kazakhstan; Tetsuji Nagatomo, Executive Director, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals Corporation (JOGMEC); Kuanysh Bektemirov, Managing Director, JSC Sovereign Wealth Fund "Samruk-Kazyna"; and Yerzhan Karibayev, Acting Chairman of Industry Committee, Ministry of Industry and New Technologies; Eduard Kvyatkovskiy, Deputy Akim, Akmolinskaya oblast.
Building solid systems to ensure a stable supply of rare earth elements is considered as one of the top priorities in promoting expansion and sophistication of Japan's high-tech industry and driving technological innovation in the sector. Recognizing this, Sumitomo Corporation will make substantial contributions to meeting this challenge through this Kazakh project in cooperation with the Japanese government and JOGMEC. In Kazakhstan, where the economy has been growing by centering on the development of natural resources including oil, natural gas, uranium and other minerals, rare earths are garnering new focus under the government's resources development projects. We will endeavor to enhance this international project in a public-private partnership scheme.
|-- Company name||:||Summit Atom Rare Earth Company LLP|
|-- Ownership ratio||:||National Atomic Company Kazatomprom: 51%; Sumitomo Corporation: 49%|
|-- Head office||:||Ust'-Kamenogorsk, Republic of Kazakhstan|
|-- Major business||:||Recovery of rare earth elements from uranium-ore residue|
Corporate Communications Department,