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Russia approves new railway bridge to China, creating a new land-access route for the strategic resource-rich Sakha Republic

On March 20, reports from Russia’s Information Office of the Sakha Republic (aka Republic of Yakutia) announced that approval had been given to start construction of a new railway bridge that would significantly enhance the land-access route between Russia’s resource-rich Far East and China. The bridge will connect Mohe, China with Dzhalinda, Russia, crossing the Amur River (known as Heilongjiang in China), which marks the border between the two countries in this region.

The Sakha Republic produces nearly all of Russia’s antimony, which is used in products like semiconductors and is a critical input for the defence-industrial supply chain and used to make ammunition, explosives, and nuclear weapons. The region is also a major source of Russian diamonds, uranium, gold, silver, iron, coal, gas, and timber – all key resources that can be further developed for export. 

China is the world’s top miner, producer, and processor of antimony, although, since 2015, Russia and Tajikistan have been significantly increasing their mining of the critical mineral. The United States imports around 80% of its antimony from China. This industry dominance has given Beijing influence over global antimony prices, resulting in spikes in 2012 and 2021.  The issue of antimony supply and the amount of reserves in the American National Defense Stockpile has caught the interest of the US Congress, which has elevated the issue and included it in the 2022 Defense Authorization Bill.

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