Staunton, Oct. 28 – In recent years, the Russian government has moved to re-nationalize companies extracting key rare earth metals, including most recently Fin-Project which has been extracting ore contains titanium, niobium, and tantalum, three extremely rare rare earths used in electronics and found together in only a few places on earth.
The Fin-Project had been owned by a Russian oligarch using shell companies based in Cyprus, but Moscow has been working to restore state ownership of its mines since at least last May. Now, some officials are reporting that this is a done deal, but their claims have been removed from their websites.
That suggests that the government’s moves face resistance from economic interests and their allies in the business community. (On the likelihood that this dispute is far from over, see thebarentsobserver.com/en/industry-and-energy/2022/10/moscow-strengthens-state-control-over-far-northern-rare-earth-metals).
One reason behind the government’s moves is the fear in Moscow that its invasion of Ukraine may cost it access to titanium and other rare earths it had earlier imported from Ukraine (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/02/moscow-worried-about-loss-of-titanium.html). Another is the obvious desire to have something to trade with China that has long sought to corner this market by its moves in Angola and elsewhere.
Window on Eurasia — New Series