23 декабря 2011 года
Russian Lawmaker Seeks Chinese Partner for $1 Billion Zinc
2011-12-23 09:20:00.842 GMT
By Ilya Khrennikov and Yuliya Fedorinova
Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Russian lawmaker Mikhail Slipenchuk is
seeking a Chinese investor for the $1 billion Siberian zinc deposit
owned by his company IFC Metropol after Lundin Mining Corp. quit
the project following the 2008 financial crisis.
“China will be the main consumer of our metal, that’s why we prefer
to get a Chinese partner,” Slipenchuk said in an interview in
Moscow. Talks are being held with Metallurgical Corp. of China and
China Nonferrous Metal Industry’s Foreign Engineering and
Construction Co., he said.
Slipenchuk is ready to sell as much as 49 percent of MBC Resources
Ltd., owner of the rights to the Ozernoye zinc and lead deposit
near the world’s deepest lake at Baikal in East Siberia. IFC
Metropol plans to retain a controlling stake.
China became Russia’s largest trading partner last year after
helping fund a 3,700 kilometer (2,300 mile) pipeline to ship oil
from Taishet in Siberia to Daqing in northeast China.
Russia plans to ship Siberian natural gas to China and boost trade
turnover between the two countries to $200 billion in 2020, Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin said in October.
China is a natural customer for Siberian metals because of its
location and need for industrial metals, MBC Resources said in
e-mailed reply to questions. Zinc is used to make galvanized or
corrosion-protected steel for construction and automaking.
Ozernoye holds about 157 million metric tons of ore, with 5 percent
zinc and 1 percent lead, based on Joint Ore Reserves Committee
international standards, according to MBC. The mine is profitable
with zinc prices as low as $1,200 a ton, it said.
Prices fell 24 percent in London this year to $1,875 a ton.
Metropol has invested $200 million through MBC to develop
Ozernoye, mining ore at the deposit since 2010 and planning to set
up a pilot processing plant in 2012, Slipenchuk said. $1 billion
needs to be invested to reach target capacity of 130,000 tons of
zinc and 45,000 tons of lead a year, he said.
Lundin Mining, chaired by Swedish investor Lukas H. Lundin and
based in London, agreed to buy 49 percent of Ozernoye in
2006 for $125 million and left the investment in September 2009,
reshuffling its assets following world financial turmoil.
MBC is also seeking financing from VEB, Russia’s state-run
development bank chaired by Vladimir Putin, Slipenchuk said. In
2009, the businessman brought a submarine to Baikal lake and dived
with Putin. Slipenchuk became a lawmaker in the lower house of
Russian parliament in Dec. 4 elections and may sit on the committee
for natural resources.