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Hot-commissioning of crushing plant finishes at IRC's K&S mine

Sino-Russian iron ore miner said hot commissioning hasfinished at the crushing and screening facilities at its mainstay project in the Russian Far East, allowing the group to begin producing40%-content "pre-concentrate" ahead of the expected completion of therest of the plant later this year, the company confirmed in a statement April6.

According to IRC chairman Jay Hambro, the product from thecrushing plant will not be sold.

Instead, the 40% content product would be stockpiled forprocessing into 65.8% concentrate once the main processing plant isoperational, he confirmed in an email to SNL Metals & Mining April 6.

Completion of the K&S mine has been delayed byapproximately two years, amid a dispute between the mining company and its Chineseconstruction contractor, CNEEC. The mine was originally scheduled to reach first production by thefirst half of 2014.

IRC's latest news shows that the mine, which will be able todeliver 62% iron ore concentrate to the Chinese border for US$28 per tonne,will reach completion in spite of the low prevailing commodity prices.

The main processing plant should be handed over to thecompany by the end of June, with the drying unit scheduled for completion atthe end of August, according to the company's statement.

"We are now just one step away from the maidenproduction of K&S," IRC CEO Yury Makarov was quoted as saying in thestatement.

"We are focusing every effort on the processing plantand all key equipment has now been on site for some while and the proceduresfor installation, wiring and automation are advanced."

Once completed, the processing plant will bring in 3.2million tonnes of new iron ore concentrate production capacity, with the optionto expand to 6.3 million tonnes in the mine's second phase.