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Russian Railways to Team up for Copper Deposit Tender

April 2008.

Russian Railways (RZD) is establishing a consortium to develop the world's third largest copper deposit in the Chita Region in Russia's Far East, business daily Kommersant reported on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Natural Resources announced on Tuesday that it would announce within a week the terms of a tender to develop the Udokan copper deposit located 30 km (18 miles) south of the Chara station of the Baikal-Amur rail line.

RZD is setting up a consortium with the state-run corporation Development Bank (Vnesheconombank) and the Urals Mining and Metals Company (UGMK), the paper said.

RZD and the Development Bank (Vnesheconombank) will hold a total of 51% in the consortium. RZD will contribute an unfinished railroad approach to the Chineisky copper deposit in the Chita Region and will be responsible for transport infrastructure in the consortium, Vnesheconombank will provide the larger part of financing and UGMK will be the project's sectoral operator, the paper said.

"RZD will stay in the consortium until it repays its investment," Kommersant quoted RZD President Vladimir Yakunin as saying.

The Udokan deposit accounts for 15% of the world's copper reserves. As of
January 1, 2008, its balance B+C1 reserves included 14.4 million metric tons of copper, 7,300 metric tons of silver and 1.9 metric tons of gold.

Vnesheconombank and UGMK have not yet officially commented on their plans about the Udokan copper deposit, RIA Novosti reports.

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