14 Jan 2010 15:05

Metalloinvest calls FEE tender for Udokan copper project

MOSCOW. Jan 14 (Interfax) - A unit of Alisher Usmanov's Metalloinvest holding has called a tender for the right to perform front-end engineering design for the project to develop the giant Udokan copper field in the Chita region.

LLC Baikal Mining Company said in a statement that applications to bid at the tender would be accepted until February 5 and that the results would be known on March 5.

OJSC Mikhailovsky GOK , which holds the license to develop Udokan, is the sole owner of Baikal Mining Company and is organizing the tender.

Metalloinvest intends to develop Udokan in conjunction with the state Russian Technologies (Rostekhnologii) corporation. Reports have said the companies are discussing loans with Vnesheconombank (VEB) and VTB to fund efforts to get the Udokan project under way.

Mikhailovsky GOK won the Udokan license at an auction in September 2008.

Metalloinvest had planned to start building the Udokan mine in 2010. Planned investment in the project exceeds 100 billion rubles. Alisher Usmanov has since said the timing of the construction and other terms of the license must be changed due to the financial crisis.

Metalloinvest is planning, according to the current terms, to start building a hydrometallurgical plant in the Chita region in 2010 and the first stage of the plant, capacity 150,000 tonnes of cathode copper or 12 million tonnes of concentrate per year, should be commissioned in 2014. Full design capacity of 474,000 tonnes cathode copper per year (36 million tonnes concentrate) should be achieved in 2016.

The Russian Federal Subsurface Resources Agency (Rosnedra) has said that as of January 1, 2008, Udokan contained B+C1 reserves of 14.43 million tonnes copper and C2 reserves of 5.52 million tonnes. The ores have a Cu content of 1.56%.