Kazakhstan wants more lithium

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The country has allocated more than $1 million for geological exploration

The government of Kazakhstan has decided to support two geological exploration projects in the East Kazakhstan region.  The efforts are aimed at finding lithium, a rare metal that the electric car industry desperately needs for battery production. The country has allocated for that purpose $1,057,360. It is expected that the exploration result will be announced this December.

According to Erlan Galiyev, deputy head of the Geology Committee, there are seven lithium fields in Kazakhstan (Yubileynoe, Verkhne-Baymurzinskoe, Bakennoe, Akhmirovskoe, Medvedka and Maralushenskoe). All of them are in the East Kazakhstan region. If geological exploration at Kara-Ayak and Muncha, the two new potential lithium fields succeeds, the country will have nine confirmed lithium sites for further development.

«We have allocated $660,000 for exploration at Kara-Ayak and $397,000 for Muncha. SK Semey is a contractor for exploration at both sites,» Galiyev said.

There are three main types of lithium fields, according to experts from the committee: solid beds of lithium, clays and high-salinity lakes (salt solutions). So far, geologists in Kazakhstan have been looking for only hard formation with lithium fractions. However, the geology committee is going to search for other sources of lithium in the country.

Many are interested if there is any local company capable of processing lithium ore. As Erlan Galiyev noted, the road map that is aimed at expansion of the rare metal production in Kazakhstan also provides specific measures for engaging local companies to produce and reprocess lithium inside the country.

Over the past ten years, the lithium price increased 18-fold. This year nothing is going to change, experts say and the lithium price will continue to surge. In turn, this trend also drives stocks of companies involved in the production of lithium or electric batteries made of lithium to new heights.  

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