Russia 090922 Basic Political Developments




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Reuters: UPDATE 1-Highland Gold boosts H1 profit, plans mine launch


http://www.forbes.com/feeds/afx/2009/09/22/afx6913846.html
09.22.09, 04:40 AM EDT

By Robin Paxton

MOSCOW, Sept 22 (Reuters) - London-listed Highland Gold Mining's first-half net profit was up 70 percent after its Russian mine produced more gold, it cut costs and benefited from a foreign exchange gain, the company reported on Tuesday.

Highland, whose shareholders include billionaire Roman Abramovich and Barrick Gold ( ABX - news - people ), the world's biggest gold miner, said profit after tax rose to $38.1 million in the first six months of 2009 from a restated $22.4 million a year ago.

Highland plans to start up its next mine, Novoshirokinskoye, by Oct. 1 and says the company as a whole is on track to produce between 155,000 and 165,000 ounces of gold this year.

Highland also said its $294.8 million in cash, acquired in part after the sale of its Mayskoye licence in Chukotka to rival Russian miner Polymetal, put the company in a strong position to seek acquisitions in Russia and Central Asia.

Gold output in Russia, the world's fifth-largest producer, rose 21 percent in the first seven months of this year and is expected to rise over the next few years as the country develops reserves second only to South Africa's.

Gold, popular as a safe haven for investors in times of financial strife, is trading at above $1,000 an ounce, within striking distance of the all-time high of $1,030.80 an ounce set in March 2008.

Highland Gold's earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in the first half of 2009 rose 33 percent to $27.3 million, a combination of increased gold sales and lower production costs.

Highland's total cash cost per ounce of gold produced was $514, compared with $574 in the prior reporting period. It also recognised foreign exchange gains of $21.1 million as the British pound strengthened against the rouble.

Highland's one operating mine, Mnogovershinnoye, increased output to 78,421 ounces of gold in the first half of 2009, 14 percent more than the 68,813 ounces produced a year earlier.

The higher output resulted from plans put in place at the start of the year to stabilise ore feed to the processing plant and to improve processing technology, Highland said in a statement.

The Novoshirokinskoye mine in eastern Siberia, a joint venture with Kazakh zinc producer Kazzinc, will move toward full-scale ore processing by January 2010.

Production over the life of mine to 2023 is expected to be 1.5 million ounces in gold and gold equivalent. The mine will also produce lead and zinc concentrate.

(Editing by Greg Mahlich) Keywords: HIGHLANDGOLD/

(robin.paxton@reuters.com; +7 495 775 1242; Reuters Messaging: robin.paxton.reuters.com@reuters.net)



ShareCast: Profit soars at Highland Gold


http://www.sharecast.com/cgi-bin/sharecast/story.cgi?story_id=3018553

Tue 22 Sep 2009

LONDON (SHARECAST) - Russian gold miner Highland Gold said profit soared 70% for the half year ended 30 June 2009.

Profit for the period rose to US$38.1m from $22.4m the year before. Turnover increased to $78.8m from $76.5m.

Mnogovershinnoye produced 78,421 oz of gold, up 14% from the first half of 2008 and Novoshirokinskoye is on schedule for commissioning by 1 October 2009.

Non-Executive chairman Duncan Baxter said, "The investments made at MNV continue to bear fruit as reflected in the strong performance from the mine in the first half of the year. Our joint venture project Novoshirokinskoye is on track to become our second producing mine."

"We are making good progress with the Taseevskoye development project and our Belaya Gora exploration project, while Unkurtash with its multi-million ounces holds strong potential to increase our resource base substantially," he added.

Highland Gold said it continues to seek out new acquisitions.


Bloomberg: Rusal Appeals Guinea Ruling, May Seek Arbitration, FT Reports

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=azFU1mLWylwc

By Maria Kolesnikova

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- United Co. Rusal is appealing a court ruling in Guinea that canceled its ownership of the Friguia bauxite and alumina complex and may seek arbitration in Paris, the Financial Times reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the action.

Nobody at Rusal was available to comment when Bloomberg called its offices in Moscow and mobile numbers for officials.

Rusal had 10 days to challenge the Sept. 10 court decision, Momo Sacko, adviser to Guinean President Moussa Camara, said on Sept. 11.

To contact the reporters on this story: Maria Kolesnikova in Moscow at mkolesnikova@bloomberg.net,



Last Updated: September 22, 2009 02:45 EDT

Barentsobserver: ABB established in Murmansk


http://www.barentsobserver.com/abb-established-in-murmansk.4635028-16175.html
2009-09-22

In order to meet the growing shipping and petroleum marked in the Arctic, ABB Marine has opened a marine service centre in Murmansk.

Already 19 of the ice class vessels operating in Russian Arctic waters have ABB systems installed and the new center in Murmansk will provide support to this vessels. ABB is a global leader in power and automation technologies and produce electric propulsion systems for boats and offshore installations.

From before, ABB Marine has a longstanding cooperation agreement with the shipyard Zvezdochka, in Severodvinsk. The company is also established in St. Petersburg.

Speaking to Maritime Reporter and Engineering News, ABB Marine sales and service business manager in Russia, Sergey Shevchuk said: - ABB's new commitments to Russia also extended to encouraging local suppliers to provide components for ships built in Russia, in line with requirements set out by the Russian Government. Our objective is to develop deeper relations with Russian enterprises, he said.

The Murmansk service centre will be manned by Russian coordination staff and dedicated service engineers. An engineer training programme is underway at ABB facilities in Norway, Finland and Switzerland, with commissioning and site survey work to follow.



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