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By John Helmer, Moscow Last Thursday the government in Beijing struck a new blow against the domination of global commodity markets by countries allied with the US in the sanctions war against Russia. The measure announced is a 3% to 6% tariff to be imposed on coal imports to China, commencing on October 15. Australia, [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Two Russian steelmaking oligarchs, Alexei Mordashov (above, left) of Severstal, and Igor Zyuzin (right) of Mechel, went to court early this month over a debt of $4 million. The debt stems from a contract for delivery of Mechel-made metallurgical coke to Severstal’s steelmill in Dearborn, Michigan. The court is the US [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow It isn’t known whether Dmitry Shatokhin (right), the chief executive, board chairman, and apparent control shareholder of Siberian Anthracite, reads the news. Not the commodity price reports showing that the demand and price for the coal he is selling are falling. Rather, the news that President Vladimir Putin, along with the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Igor Zyuzin (right) is almost entirely dependent on the Russian government for the solvency of his Mechel steelmaking and coalmining group. With between $9 billion and $10 billion in debt, Zyuzin, who owns 65.49% of Mechel’s shares and controls the company as chairman of its board, is now the steel and [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Igor Zyuzin’s desperately indebted steel and coal-mining group Mechel is negotiating the sale of a 25% shareholding stake in Mechel Mining, his coal division, for $1.25 billion. That’s a fraction – maybe half — of what it was worth two years ago. Would such a loss of capital value, and the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Roman Abramovich was recently able to bamboozle a British judge with no experience of Russia, when the credibility standard was set by Boris Berezovsky. But can his winsome personality persuade President Vladimir Putin and energy chief Igor Sechin that Russia badly needs to acquire an Australian company that has adapted Soviet [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The two 20-year veteran coalminers who have directed Raspadskaya, one of Russia’s leading coking coal producers, have unexpectedly sold out their stake in the company. According to the terms of the deal announced in Moscow yesterday, Evraz, the vertically integrated steel and mining group controlled by Roman Abramovich (left image), will [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Evraz, the Russian steelmaker listed on the London Stock Exchange main board, is being sued in the UK High Court for $35.8 million by a group of Swiss investors over a failed project to build a terminal for iron-ore and coking coal at Yuzhny port, on the Ukrainian Black Sea coast [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow When crisis strikes the global steel sector, sales revenues drop faster than costs, and earnings and profits shrink. The normal correction is for mill owners to cut their costs by reducing production, closing furnaces, furloughing workers, trimming supply of steel into the marketplace, cutting product prices to clear unsold inventories, and [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow If Vnesheconombank (VEB), the state bailout bank chaired by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, really has agreed to pay $5.3 billion for the 80% control shareholding of Raspadskaya, the coking coalminer, then this is going to be Roman Abramovich’s lucky day. His second lucky day, if to count the September 2005 transaction [...]