Palladium and nickel miner Nornickel will collaborate with State atomic energy corporation Rosatom on the development of what it describes as the “most promising” lithium ore deposit in Russia.
The Kolmozerskoye deposit, in the Murmansk region, is said to be the biggest in Russia, accounting for 18.9% of domestic reserves.
“Nornickel’s products have long played an important role in energy storage. By expanding our range of metals with such an important and sought-after raw material as lithium, we intend to strengthen our position as a key supplier to the battery industry,” Nornickel president Vladimir Potanin says.
He adds that cooperation between Rosatom and Nornickel will allow the Russian industry to take a step forward in developing its own production of batteries.
The parties will consider setting up a joint venture (JV) with stakes and parity principles of corporate governance. Such a JV would combine the assets and competencies of the partners and participate in the Kolmozerskoye licence auction.
The Kolmozerskoye collaboration forms part of a cooperation agreement between Nornickel and Rosatom that will focus on several areas. The parties intend to deliver strategic projects in the Russian Arctic in a bid to develop infrastructure of the Northern Sea Route, Arctic shipping, including the implementation of shipbuilding projects and the development of the nuclear icebreaker fleet. Atomflot’s icebreakers help Nornickel expand the transport corridor to the Taimyr Peninsula, allowing it to support its investment programme in the Norilsk Industrial District. For example, since 2022, the Sibir nuclear-powered icebreaker has been providing year-round navigation on the Murmansk-Dudinka line and is operating in the Yenisey Bay, ensuring commercial speed of piloting.
Under the cooperation agreement, Rosatom plans to involve FSUE Atomflot, ARMZ Uranium Holding, JSC TechSnabExport and JSC RENERA in the projects.
The list of areas is not exhaustive and may be supplemented by the parties through the conclusion of additional agreements.