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3/15/2015 by mdc
Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, two countries in Central Asia, may become new global centers of rare earth metals production during the next several years, according to recent statements of some U.S. and Russian scientists.

In the case of Afghanistan, according to recent studies, conducted by the US Geological Survey - USGS, total value of the country rare and rare earth metals, is estimated at 1 trillion U.S. dollars. In their studies, the U.S. geologists used the Soviet maps, which were prepared by Soviet scientists in 1979-1980. At that period of time the USSR had plans for the establishment of its own production of rare earth metals and other mineral deposits in Afghanistan, however, after the pullout of Soviet troops from the territory of the country the Soviet government had no choice but to depart.

The program also involves the establishment of a special state reserve of rare earth metals in the country. It is planned that a particular attention will be paid for the production of such metals as beryllium, tantalum, dysprosium and neodymium. The project is expected to be implemented by a local Ulba Metallurgical Plant, one of the world leaders in terms of production of beryllium, tantalum, and niobium, as well as uranium-based fuel bricks for nuclear power stations.

As part of these plans is also building of a new mine processing complex, based on the deposits of titanium-zirconium ores Shokash in the Aktobe area of the country, which will have the capacity to process up to 750,000 cubic meters of ore per year. Finally, according to plans of the Kazakh government, is the increase of production of REM bulk concentrates in the city of Stepnogorsk up to 3,000 tonnes per year.

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