With production set to begin in 2023, Udokan Copper, The business constructing Russia’s largest copper mine, is placing a significant wager on the Asian markets. The CEO of USM Holdings and the chairman of Udokan Copper’s board of directors, Erkozha Akylbek, spoke about the specifics of the project and the company’s aspirations for India.
What makes the Udokan copper deposit noteworthy and distinctive on a worldwide scale?
It’s one of the world’s largest copper deposits, I suppose. Udokan contains roughly 27 million tonnes of copper resources. To put that amount into perspective, consider that the current market price of copper is around $7,600 per tonne. Thus, once mined and processed, these quantities of copper might be worth more than $200 billion. Of fact, it’s not that easy because we’ll continue selling and processing Udokan’s metal for more than 40 years.
With reference to the planned expansion of Udokan, full-scale production is anticipate to produce 0.4 million tonnes annually.
Geological and Development of Udokan.
In Russia’s Far East, in the Zabaikalye region, is where you may find Udokan. Winter temperatures in this sparsely populated area can drop as low as -60° Celsius. Its riches compared by Soviet geologists to those of the renowned Copperbelt in Central Africa. However, Udokan’s development has been hamper for years by the area’s isolation, geological complexity, and lack of adequate equipment. Sulfide, oxidised, and mixed ore are all present in the deposit and cannot be distinguish from one another.
A combination production process created to solve this problem after world-famous billionaire and philanthropist Alisher Usmanov and his partners purchas the licence to develop Udokan in 2008. The transaction was currently the largest in the mining sector. Mr. Usmanov, a visionary, saw the initiative as a step toward a sustainable future with the potential to boost demand for copper as a metal of the new age.
The developed and patented two-staged method, which involves “flotation” and the subsequent “hydrometallurgy,” is environmentally beneficial.
What amenities do you intend to debut the next year?
The hydrometallurgical plant and the flotation enrichment plant are both parts of our production complex. Both will be release in 2023, a few months apart from one another. 135,000 tonnes of copper may be produce annually at the complex.
As part of the second phase of Udokan’s development. Which would permit an increase in yearly production capacity to 400,000 tonnes of copper. We are also working on a feasibility study.
What location do you intend to sell your copper at?
Our proximity to the Baikal-Amur Mainline Railroad, the Chinese land border. And the seaports in Russia’s the Far East make it the most profitable to export to Asia, particularly China, which consumes more copper than any other country in the world.
Red Metal is Anticipate to Increase.
India is anticipate to catch up given its sizable population and expanding economy, ensuring an increase in the demand for copper on a worldwide scale.
According to the International Copper Association, the nation’s usage of the red metal is anticipate to increase threefold during the following ten years. Copper will see an increase in demand from industries involve in the move toward net-zero because it is already utilized in manufacturing machinery, electronics, and construction.
Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. By 2030, the nation hopes to have developed renewable energy capacity of 450 gigawatts. According to the India Energy Storage Alliance, sales of electric vehicles in India are expect to more than double to 17 million by 2030 from less than 0.4 million the previous year. Copper is needed for solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles, which will increase demand for the metal. Read More
The campaign to minimise emissions and convert to cleaner energy was identified as a key factor in copper demand.
What Steps is Udokan Copper taking to Improve its Environmental Practices?
Even before we begin operations, we have begun to estimate our environmental footprint and are attempting to minimise it. Since many copper manufacturers employ pyrometallurgy, which produces significantly more air pollution, we decided to use the hydrometallurgy manufacturing method.
With the help of local energy resources, we began the project. However, we will use renewable energy throughout the second stage of Udokan’s growth. We entered into a contract with the Russian renewable energy company RusHydro in September.
Direct purchases of renewable energy and market-based trading of “green energy” certificates will be used to achieve this goal.
We want to reduce our activities’ carbon intensity by 75% by the year 2035, which will lower emissions all along our supply chain. For our customers, who want to buy copper produced with less carbon emissions, this is also a crucial consideration.
What do you think the future holds for the price of copper?
These days, commodities are quite volatile. The demand for many of them comes from China, which has had property crises and Covid-19 lockdowns. We are counting on mid-term copper price predictions of around $10,000 per tonne.
Although the capacity to grow supply is constrained for a number of reasons, we anticipate that the net-zero transition will increase copper demand over the next ten years. It takes time for new ventures to develop. Governments in nations that produce copper attempt to raise taxes on mining firms. One of the few greenfield projects with significant extra supply hitting the copper market is Udokan.