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By John Helmer in Moscow German miner Chronimet and America’s Comsup Commodities reveal mystery of Armenia’s molybdenum mines. Molybdenum is a metal that doesn’t lose its cool. Used in a variety of alloys for steel, it remains rigid at 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and doesn’t melt until 4,730 degrees F, a point at which everything but [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Kremlin insiders fall into disarray over ‘strategic’ mineral resources. Only in Russian politics can it be true that a politician, who is commanding in the polls, may also lack the authority to rule. And only in Russia is the political solution for this to lock everyone up. In 1925, Mikhail [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Can outsiders like Rio Tinto see who commands, who follows, in Russian uranium sector planning? It was Winston Churchill who once epitomized what he didn’t know of Russians, and what he didn’t like, by describing them as bulldogs fighting under a rug. In the Russian uranium business, the rug has [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow At the Antwerp diamond conference Alrosa and De Beers switch positions on value of diamond beneficiation. Diamond-miners are wolves; diamond-cutters are sheep. At least that’s the way it has usually appeared to the governments of countries fortunate enough to supervise lucrative mineable diamond deposits. Expressed in terms of the diamond [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Russian diamond manufacturers have reacted critically towards Alrosa chief executive, Sergei Vybornov, attacking key proposals he made at last week’s Antwerp Diamond Conference. Vybornov ousted Alexander Nichiporuk from the top spot at Alrosa in February. But after a string of misstatements drew fire from domestic policymakers, he has limited his [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Litigators and analysts look for cash inside Russia’s global aluminium giant. Most of the trouble Oleg Deripaska, controlling shareholder of United Company Rusal, has faced in the court claims confronting him in the past, and the one from Mikhail Chernoy (Michael Cherney) he currently faces in London, comes from the [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Mystery American company takes concession to mine large antimony reserves in Tajikistan. Antimony is one of the rare metals for whom new applications are being devised in electronics, battery manufacture, and flame retardants, but whose worldwide supply is fast running out. That imbalance between supply and demand makes for highly [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow De Beers’s arsenal resists Usmanov attack on the Grib pipe and the Arsenal pitch. A public relations blitz under way this month in London and the UK media has produced charges and counter-charges involving Alisher Usmanov, an iron-ore and steel magnate. He is accused of conspiring with other Russians to [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Open warfare declared at Russia’s largest gold miner exposes Lord Gillford, and starts a run at Polyus assets. On their annual day of atonement for a year of sinning, the biblical Hebrews used to beat a goat over a cliff; or drive him into the desert to be devoured by [...]

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By John Helmer Armenian officials in charge of mining and natural resource licensing say they have yet to decide whether to approve the transfer of ownership of Zod, Armenia’s principal goldmine, from the Vedanta Resources group company, Sterlite Gold, to Madneuli, a Georgian company financed by Sergei Generalov, a Russian shipping magnate. According to recent [...]