China, Russia start construction of iron ore dressing plant

Russian and Chinese companies started construction of an iron ore dressing plant Friday in the Evreyskaya Autonomous Oblast to provide high-grade iron ore to the Asia Pacific region, including China.

Yury Makarov, chief executive officer of IRC Ltd., told Xinhua the plant would reach its designed capacity in 2013 at 10 million tons of iron ore and 3.2 million tons of iron ore concentrates, which contain up to 65 percent iron.

Makarov said that 20 percent of the iron ore concentrates, which are natural iron ore processed through crushing, grinding and dressing, would be used to meet demands of Russia's far east and the rest would go to the Asia-Pacific market. Currently, China imports large amounts of concentrates from Brazil, Australia and India.

"We are very open to interaction with various countries of the Asia-Pacific region, especially China. The volume of processed iron ore has been increasing every year. We will be happy to deliver iron ore to your companies as well as any other consumers who are willing to purchase our products," he said.

The plant will draw its resources from the Kimkanskoye and Sutarskoye deposits and send its products through the Khabarovsk Krai and the Suifenhe port to China.

The plant is only 7 km from the Trans-Siberian Railway. A railway bridge is being planned between Evreyskaya Oblast and Heilongjiang to further shorten the supply route.

Total investment in the plant is 400 million U.S. dollars, with 340 million in loans from the ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) in China. Interest under the facility will be charged at 2.8 percent above LIBOR per annum. The China National Electric Engineering Co, Ltd is tasked with the construction of the plant.

Makarov said he was very optimistic about the future of the plant and the development of relations between the Russia's far east and China's northeastern region.

IRC Ltd. is a metal unit of Russian gold miner Petropavlovsk PLC. It became the second Russian company to be listed on the HK stock exchange, when it started trading on Oct. 21.

[Source: Xinhua, Moscow, 24Jan11]

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