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Eurasian Resources Group strikes US$5.8B debt restructure deal with banks

Kazakhstan-focuseddiversified miner Eurasian Resources Group, formerly known as ,said it reached an agreement with its two major Russian lenders to restructureUS$5.8 billion in debt, in a deal that lifts the threat of bankruptcy threeyears after the company delisted its London stock amid allegations ofcorruption and a fraud investigation.

Underthe deal, Sberbank and VTB Bank agreed to postpone the bulk of debt repayments to2020 or 2022, Interfax newswire reported July 18, while debt repayments over2016 and 2017 will total just US$200 million.

Thenew schedule relieves pressure on ERG's balance sheet during the present periodof lower iron ore prices, company chairman Alexander Mashkevich told thenewswire.

"Thesedocuments provide sustainability of the company's finances and serve as aguarantee to achieve its large-scale goals," he was quoted as saying.

ERG,which is 40%-owned by the Kazakh government, controls mines and metalsprocessing facilities across the former Soviet Union, and in South America andAfrica. Among its biggest producing assets are the iron ore mine,and the Krasno-Oktyabrsk bauxite mine, both in Kazakhstan.

ERGwas previously listed on the London Stock Exchange, but it de-listed and wentprivate in 2013 amid allegations from Britain's Serious Fraud Office ofcorruption, fraud and bribery.