Far East

Russia’s diamond miner to start new kimberlite pipe and plug state budget holes

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By Marina Romanova

KMO_124003_04031_1_t218_212550Russian diamond miner Alrosa PJSC has announced the start of the development of Zarya kimberlite pipe, a new deposit in its Aikhal Mining and Processing Division (MPD) located in Mirny District of Russian Republic of Sakha. The initial investment estimated by the company to approximately US $150 million. The announcement came along with the news of 10.9 percent of central government Alrosa’s stake, valued at more than US$860 million, to be auction soon.

The new deposit

The first commercial blasting on brand new Zarya pipe reportedly took place on June 10th and triggered the first stage of the deposit development – surface stripping to remove barren sedimentary rock overlying the ore body, Diamond World News Service explains. Continue reading…

The Golden Arches to Conquer Siberia

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Aug. 30 – The U.S.-based fast food chain McDonald’s is on the way into one of the largest Big Mac-free territories on the globe. There was confirmation this week that the hunt is on for 10 sites in Novosibirsk, Siberia’s largest city, for McDonald’s outlets.

After serving more than 2 billion fast-food meals and opening more than 300 locations in Russia, McDonald’s is “actively looking into the possibility of opening restaurants not only in Novosibirsk, but in Barnaul, Tomsk and Novokuznetsk,” Viktor Eidemiller, vice president of development for McDonald’s Russia, told Vedomosti. Continue reading…

Russia’s Grain Crop to be Damaged by Drought

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Jul. 18 – Russian Agriculture Ministry estimates that some 28.3 million hectares of spring sowing and 16.1 million hectares of winter crops all over the country will be damaged by the current drought. That’s 3.4 percent of the total sown area, according to preliminary estimates on the ministry’s website.

Droughts have hit 16 of Russia’s 83 regional areas this year, the ministry said. It is still affecting nine regions including Rostov, Volgograd, Stavropol and Kalmyk Republic in the country’s south, Saratov, Orenburg in the Volga federal district, Kurgan, Chelyabinsk in the Ural area, and Siberia’s Altai region. Continue reading…

Vladivostok to Enter Far East Gaming Industry

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May 23 – The Russian Federation’s Primorsky Territory wants to construct a casino complex near the port city of Vladivostok, a city on the country’s southeast coast.

A formal announcement by Russian officials and state-owned Nash Dom Primorye Corporation, is expected Wednesday at the Global Gaming Expo Asia in Macau. A website detailing the development plans is expected to go live Wednesday, as well. Continue reading…

Flights between Alaska and Kamchatka to be Restored

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Apr. 9 – The air bridge between the U.S. state of Alaska and Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula will be resume this July five years after the collapse of direct flights between Anchorage (Alaska’s largest city) and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski (the urban and administrative center of the peninsula).

Yakutia Air, based in Russia’s northern Republic of Sakha, plans to offer direct flights over the Bering Straits starting in July, permitting direct travel to the isolated Russian peninsula for researchers, adventurers, businessmen and Russian expatriates living in Alaska.

Yakutia Air flies a fleet of 27 planes, including the Boeing 757, Boeing 737, and Russian planes like Tu-154, An-140-100 and An-24RV, according to the airline’s website. It flies to about 40 destinations in Russia and also flies to Asia and Europe. Continue reading…

Foreign Workers to be Sent Home from Russian Far East

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Apr. 5 – Moscow has forced Vladistok’s regional authorities to kick out foreign workers from the Russian Far East as soon as they finish their work on construction sites for the upcoming APEC 2012 Summit, which will be held in the city this September.

The majority of the foreign workers, mostly citizens of China and North Korea, came to the Russian Far East to work on the APEC Summit and benefit from a simplified foreign labor entry regime to Vladivostok, which was set up by the country’s Ministry of Regional Development upon mass requests by APEC contractors. Continue reading…

McDonald’s to Expand into Siberia

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Mar. 29 – U.S. fast food giant McDonald’s Corporation reportedly has begun to search for franchisees to expand into Siberia.

The fast-food giant intends to open new outlets using the franchise business model that is the basis for 80 percent of its restaurants worldwide, but has not been used in Russia yet, according to RBC Daily. All of the company’s 314 restaurants across 85 Russian cities are operated independently.

Last week, McDonald’s announced plans to open restaurants in the West Siberian cities of Novosibirsk, Tomsk, and Barnaul. According to a city official from Tomsk, the company intends to open on its own, and also by granting franchises. Continue reading…

Russia to Lease its Unused Farmland to Asian States

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Mar. 20 – Russia may officially welcome Asian nations to lease its abandoned Far Eastern farmland at the APEC summit in Vladivostok this upcoming September.

“Since last year, we’ve been preparing a strategy to develop Russia’s Far East and east-west Siberia to announce at the APEC summit. We have 20 agricultural investment items to offer to Asia-Pacific countries,” Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach told reporters. Some of these projects include up to 150,000–200,000 hectares.

For now, an area for lease includes the Primorsky Krai, Amur and Khabarovsk regions of the Russian Far East, where only half of the farmland is cultivated since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Continue reading…

The Republic of Tuva and the State of Russian Coal Exports

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Mar. 14 – Russia’s US$8 billion investment into Siberia to develop the Tyva Ulug-Khem Coal Basin, estimated to have 2.5 times more reserves than the Mongolian Tavan Tolgoi field, could double the country’s metallurgical coal exports by 2020.

“Annual coal production in Tyva may reach 40 million metric tons in 2020 should all the companies implement the announced plans in full,” Dmitry Sakhno, project manager at OAO Severstal, Russia’s second- largest steel producer, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

At the same time, according to Sakhno, the delays by some of the mining companies as well as complexity’s of developing the region may curb production by 2020 to 15 million to 20 million tons. Continue reading…

French Vostok to Become Pioneer in Russian Electricity Market

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Feb. 29 – French grid company Vostok has been contracted to run the Tomsk Distribution Company of Russia’s grid firm MRSK for an initial 18-month probationary period, the companies announced on Tuesday. It’s the first time a foreign entity has been permitted to manage an operating entity in Russia.

“This is the first instance of such cooperation with Western partners. The French party has made the right decision by choosing Siberia for its operations,” Prime Minister Vladimir Putin noted.

Tomsk is a city in the southwest edge of the great Siberian Taiga, the administrative center of Tomsk Region, located about 3,500 kilometers from Moscow. Continue reading…

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