Russia restarts beryllium production after 20 years

BerylliumBeryllium: Breakthroughs in beryllium production technology could mean that Russia will be self-sufficient in supplies of one of the world’s rarest and most valuable metals within the next five years, according to scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University and the Siberian Chemical Plant. Beryllium is primarily used in the manufacture of structural materials for high-speed aircraft, missiles, spacecraft and communication satellites and is also deployed in nuclear reactors as a reflector or moderator of neutrons.
Russia last produced any significant quantities of beryllium ore back in 1997, since which time the US has enjoyed an 80% share of the 260-ton market. Last month, the scientific team in Siberia produced its first laboratory sample of 100 grams and expects to be able to reach industrial production levels by 2020. “Our proposed technology is characterized by the closed technological cycle technique and the ability to extract not only metallic beryllium, but also accompanying commercial products such as synthetic calcium fluoride and silicon oxide,” said Tomsk Polytechnic University’s Alexander Dyachenko.

Source: rbth