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Rusal gets license to develop Siberian nepheline mine

Russian aluminum producer United Co. Rusal PLC said May 21 that it obtained a license to develop a nepheline mine near its largest refinery, Achinsk, in southern Krasnoyarsk Krai in Siberia.

The Goryachegorsk mine has nepheline reserves of about 414.4 million tonnes, enough for 60 years of operations, according to initial analysis. It is scheduled to reach production between 2028 and 2029.

Rusal said it will need to add reserves and build necessary infrastructure at the site, including rebuilding a railway and constructing a pit. It will also build an enrichment facility at nearby Achinsk, which will receive material from the mine.

Achinsk refines ore from the Kiya-Shaltyrskiy nepheline mine and the Mazulskiy limestone mine, which have another 10 years of reserves remaining.

The company said the total investment required for the project and the precise production start date will be agreed once all the project documents are finalized.

"One of the company's top priorities is the development of the proper resource base whilst there is still a period of high pricing," CEO Evgenii Nikitin said. "The Goryachegorsk field reserves will ensure that the work at the Achinsk alumina refinery can continue uninterrupted for dozens of years after mining has completed at Kiya-Shaltyrskiy."