Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/13/2012 -- We expect Russia's mining industry value to reach RUB4.16trn (US$160bn) by 2016. Strong growth during 2009 to 2011 will be followed by years of stagnation as palladium and platinum production growth in the country from 2012 to 2016 practically ceases. Nevertheless, we have a positive view on the Russian mining industry given the country's vast unexplored mineral resources. We like coal as the government plans to invest RUB3.7trn (US$120bn) on the sector from 2012 to 2030. As for platinum and palladium, we do not expect significant growth in the sector given Norilsk Nickel's plans.
The government will continue to have a strong influence on the industry. For example, total palladium supply from Russia is complicated by palladium sales from government stockpiles which are very large relative to primary production. Foreign firms are also restricted in investing in the industry. Companies seeking to develop a 'strategic resource', defined as a region with more than 1.6mn ounces of gold and 500kt ('000 tonnes) of copper, must seek permission from a government commission. Diamonds, uranium, cobalt, nickel, lithium, the platinum group metals (PGM), tantalum and niobium cannot be mined by foreign firms. In practice, legal obstacles to foreign investment have prevented large overseas firms from developing exploration projects, and smaller reserves are relatively unattractive given the bureaucratic problems. We expect the regulatory structure to remain favourable to domestic investment with obstacles to foreign investment remaining. Endemic corruption will likely further dissuade foreign investment.
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