Russian Copper Company steps into a mine

It can buy 50% of the Chelyabinsk coal company.
The Russian Copper Company (RCC) belonging to Igor Altushkin received a permit to purchase 50% of the Chelyabinsk Coal Company, which is developing the Korkinsky coal mine. This deal is needed by the RCC to begin construction of the Tominsky MPP: wastes of copper production are to be stored in the spent section space. The project will allow RCC to increase copper production by one and a half times, but until now the seller has been "not very constructive in the negotiations."

The FAS approved the request of the entity of RCC, JSC Tominsky GOK, to acquire 50% of the voting shares of JSC "Chelyabinsk Coal Company" (ChCC), controlled by the gold mining group of South Kazakhstan owned by Konstantin Strukov. The fact that RCC plans to become a shareholder of ChCC, which owns the Korkinsky coal mine in the Chelyabinsk region, was announced by the president of the copper company Vladislav Levin in October 2016. Then it was planned to close the deal within a month. But, according to and the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, the joint-stock structure of ChCC has not changed since: it is 100% owned by Timofeevsky stone quarry, co-owned by Cyprus Carintia Properties Ltd (49%) and three individuals.

RCC needs the deal  for the construction of Tominsky MPP. It should use ore of the same name deposit, with the processing capacity of 28 million tons per year with the production of about 100 thousand tons of copper (500 thousand tons of concentrate). The cost of the project in 2016 was estimated at a level of up to $1.5 billion due to large expenditures on the environmental component (project financing is planned). RCC was going to build a tailings pond, but the local population opposed it, so the governor of the region, Boris Dubrovsky, advised an alternative option: to use waste for the waste of the Korkino section (about 1 million tons per year, in January 2016, the ChCC went out of bankruptcy). According to RCC, ChCC itself estimated the reclamation at 28 billion rubles. In this case, the only remaining mining license of ChCC, according to Rosnedra, is valid only until January 31, 2018.

The source of Kommersant, close to RCC, told in the summer of 2016 that "the coal company is not very constructive in the negotiations." Local media reported that the management of ChCC was against the storage of waste from Tomino MPP, stressing that in case of endogenous fires it would take "about 23 years" to extinguish, and the life of the MPP is 25 years. The acting financial director Maxim Kharin yesterday refused to discuss the situation with Kommersant; ChCC did not reply to the request. RCC limited itself to saying "it is premature to talk about the details of the planned transaction."

The launch of Tominsky MPP (construction of the first stage may take about two years) will allow RCC to increase production by one and a half times. Copper is a kind of indicator of global economic growth, and its price in a few years will depend on many factors, including the state of the Chinese economy and the success of implementing infrastructure projects in the US, says Andrey Lobazov of Aton. In the coming years, it is planned to increase production at large projects in South America, so the forecasts for price dynamics are rather cautious. Norilsk Nickel (360 thousand tons in 2016) expected that in 2016-2017 the global copper market will be surplus by 100-120 thousand tons. Analysts at Societe Generale in the industry review on March 6 noted that in 2017 the copper market would move towards a balance after a surplus of 280 thousand tons in 2016. The success of Tominsky MPP, concludes Mr. Lobanov, will primarily be affected by the cost of production. RCC does not disclose the actual assessment of the cost of remediation of the cut, saying that "the project is under development".