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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Titanium Found in Siberia

Russia has discovered a large deposit of titanium and zirconium in the central Siberian region of Novosibirsk, a top Novosibirsk official said Monday.

Metals analysts said the find was significant but financing the deposit's development was currently beyond Russia's capability.

The deputy head of Novosibirsk's committee for natural resources, Alexander Nevolko, said the deposit contained reserves estimated at 20 million cubic meters of ore-bearing sand, and added that only 5 out of 600 square kilometers had been explored so far.

He said developing the open-cast deposit, ideally located in terms of availability of infrastructure, would be a significant boost for Russia as all existing deposits of these metals were outside its borders after the Soviet Union broke up.

Nevolko added that the deposit could contain as much as 7 billion metric tons of ore-bearing sands, containing around 106 million tons of titanium ores and around 26 million tons of zirconium ores.

Russia's chronic shortage of cash means this deposit will probably not be mined any time soon, analysts said.

Oleg Timochenko, metals analyst at United Financial Group, said an aluminum of similar magnitude was discovered in the Timan Pechora region five years ago but to this day remains unexploited.

World production of zirconium concentrate was around 900,000 tons in 1996, with Australia, South Africa and the United States the major producers. Demand was expected to exceed a million tons per year by 2000.