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Baikal secures up to US$1.45B loan to build Udokan copper plant

OAO Metalloinvest spinoff Baikal Mining Co. LLC secured a loan of between US$1.4 billion and US$1.45 billion from a consortium of Russian banks to build a mining and metallurgical plant at its Udokan copper project in Russia, Interfax reported Jan. 29.

The consortium consists of PAO Sberbank of Russia, VEB.RF and AO Gazprombank.

The amount will cover most of the US$2.1 billion required for the first stage of construction, Baikal Chairman Valery Kazikayev was quoted as saying. The company planned a US$100 million investment in the project in 2018.

Construction is scheduled to start in mid-2019, while commissioning is slated for the end of 2021. The plant's annual capacity is expected to reach 12 million tonnes of ore by mid-2022, producing cathode copper and sulfide concentrate.

Udokan is said to be the largest undeveloped copper deposit in Russia, with total reserves of about 26.7 million tonnes.