Rustitan to invest US$500 million in development of largest titanium field in Russia

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Rustitan to invest US$500 million developing largest titanium field in Russia

By Eugene Gerden

The Rustitan group of companies, one of Russia’s largest titanium producers, plans to launch the first stage of development of the Pizhemskoye titanium field, Russia’s major titanium field in terms of reserves in 2026.

The field is located in the Russian Komi Republic, Republic of Russia, which is situated to the west of the Ural Mountains, while the level of investments in its development is estimated at RUB 52 billion rubles (US$500 million).

According to the Deputy Chairman of the Komi regional government, Anton Vinogradov, under the terms of the project there are plans to build the vertically integrated mining and metallurgical complex for processing titanium ores and quartz sands as well as other relevant infrastructure.

Vinogradov has also added the first stage of the project involves the launch of production of artificial rutile with a capacity of 130,000 tonnes per year; synthetic wollastonite – 150,000 tonnes per year; iron oxide – 80,000 tonnes per year; zircon concentrate – 1,500 tonnes per year, as well as quartz sand with the annual output of 1 million tonnes per year.

According to him, implementation of the second stage of the project is planned for 2026-2030, with the required investments of 120 billion rubles. In total, the project will create more than 5,000 new jobs. During the second stage of the project, the production of synthetic wollastonite will be significantly expanded, while there are also plans to launch the production of glass sand with a capacity of 1 million tonnes per year, as well as pigment titanium oxide – 140,000 tonnes per year.

Anton Vinogradov stated, “We have made serious progress in the implementation of this labour-intensive project. The payback of the first stage of the project is estimated at six years, while revenue – 36 billion rubles, the second stage – eight years with the revenue of 84 billion rubles.”

Vinogradov added, the Rustitan’s project has been under development since 2006, while funding for its implementation will be provided by several large Russian banks among which are VEB.RF, Sberbank and Gazprombank and some others.

The Pizhemskoye deposit, located in the Ust-Tsilemsky district of Komi, is considered the world’s largest in terms of reserves of titanium and quartz raw materials with more than 7 billion tonnes of titanium ore and more than 1 billion tonnes of quartz (glass) sandstones, respectively.

The Pizhemskoye field is located within the boundaries of the Timan titaniferous province in the territory of Ancient Timan in close proximity to the Yaregskoye titanium deposit, another major Russian titanium field. According to official estimates, both fields contain more than 80% of Russian titanium dioxide reserves.

According to Russian scientists, the titanium mineral resource base of the Pizhemskoye field mainly contains artificial rutile and pseudorutile (ilmenite), with the overall reserves of more than 350 million tonnes, which is more than 3 times higher global rutile reserves, which are estimated at 103.4 million tonnes. Most of these reserves could be used for the production of titanium metal and titanium dioxide pigment.

It is expected the beginning of more active development of the Pizhemskoye deposit will ensure more active supplies of Russian titanium both to the global market and within the country. In the latter case, among the major domestic customers of titanium in Russia are such large companies as VSMPO-Avisma Corporation, one of the world’s largest titanium corporations and the Krymsky Combine, which are currently completely dependent on imported raw materials with annual needs of more than 400,000 tonnes of concentrates per year. Prior to February 24, 2022, a significant part of raw materials were delivered to Russia from Ukraine, while at present most supplies are carried out from Vietnam as well as some African states.

As for VSMPO-Avisma, early on, the company considered the beginning of its own titanium mining in Russia, which was supposed to take place based on the Central titanium-zirconium deposit in the Tambov region.

With regards to Ukraine, previously, supplies of ilmenite to Russia were carried out from the Volnogorsk mining and processing plant in the Dnepropetrovsk region and the Irshansky plant in the Zhitomir region, as these enterprises have supplied their raw materials since Soviet times. VSMPO also received ilmenite from its Demurinsky complex (like Volnogorsk, and is located in the Dnepropetrovsk region).

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