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Russia's Metal Giant to Explore on Far East

Russia's metals giant, Norilsk Nickel, may soon begin exploration

Russia's Metal Giant to Explore on Far East

Russia's metals giant, Norilsk Nickel, may soon begin exploration work on four new deposits in the Amur region, expanding its operations in the Far East.

Norilsk and subsidiaries will soon explore copper, gold and molybdenum deposits in the north of the Amur region, Dow Jones reported Thursday, citing the regional administration.

Until recently, Norilsk had stayed away from major exploration projects. This year, however, it has formed a flurry of joint ventures, teaming up with global mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton to explore Far East reserves. The miner, majority-owned by Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Prokhorov through the Interros holding, also acquired small gold and titanium deposits.

The resource-rich Amur region has already attracted a number of major gold-mining firms, with foreign investors, especially in China, eyeing other deposits of precious metals in the region. The deputy head of the region's environment and mining department told journalists in July that investors from Norilsk Nickel "aim to use their own funds to explore huge deposits" in the Priamuriye area of the Amur region. Until now, nearly all geological exploration in the country has been state-funded.

A Norilsk spokesman said the company's priority was a Chita region project. "As soon as we have our project officially adopted, we will start pursuing our plans to build a railway infrastructure and to develop deposits in the area," he said.


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