Moscow, March 18, 2005 Ś RUSAL, one of the world's leading aluminium companies, today announced the opening of two offices in the Arkhangelsk region, in the city of Arkhangelsk, in the center of the region, and in Plesetsk. These offices will mark the start of implementation of RUSAL's large-scale plans for the North Western region, all linked with exploration and development of three areas of the North Onega Bauxite Deposit.
In mid-December 2004 RUSAL won a tender for development of the Plesetsky, Denislavsky and Ixinsky (except for the so-called Belovezhskaya pocket) areas of the North Onega Bauxite Deposit. The Company obtained a registered license and signed a license agreement allowing development work to proceed in the Ixinsky area. Two licenses for exploration and development of the Plesetsky and Denislavsky areas are currently awaiting approval at the Federal Agency for Natural Resources Stewardship.
Under the provisions of the License Agreement, technical parameters for the development of the Ixinsky area are to be prepared no later than September 2007, and construction of infrastructure facilities for the mining enterprise is scheduled to launch no later than December 2007. The start of industrial bauxite extraction is slated for no later than January 2010, after which production capacity is expected to be ramped up to the level of 1.5 mln tones per yr (tpy) within two years.
A tender is planned for this spring seeking a local Arkhangelsk geological institute to conduct technical research and geological surveys in the Plesetsky and Denislavsky areas. A detailed geological exploration will be conducted in these areas after preliminary plans are approved and validated.
It is anticipated that around 400 workers, chiefly from the local area, will eventually be employed at the mine. Plans call for mainly local contractors to be hired to build the mine's infrastructure. RUSAL also plans to extend its current social programmes over the Arkhangelsk region. This is Company policy wherever it maintains operations or businesses.
The North Onega Bauxite Deposit is viewed by RUSAL as a potential platform for a greenfield 1.5 mln tpy alumina refinery (with further possible expansion to 2.8 mln tpy). In accordance with the License Agreement, a feasibility study for such a refinery must be completed by February 2007. RUSAL is currently selecting a contractor for the study.
International experience shows that total investment in a project of this magnitude, including infrastructure, could reach $1.5-$2 billion. Precise investment figures will be defined by the feasibility study.
For Mass Media