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By John Helmer in Moscow Lakshmi Mittal buys loss-making Russian coalmines in the middle of nowhere. Meerkats are among the most charming creatures in the animal kingdom, and they are expert at coping with the extremes of the Kalahari. The meerkat bands mark their foraging territories; but they are also opportunists — if rival bands [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Claims for the 5th largest gold reserve in the world. Sturm und drang was the title of a German play, ostensibly about the American revolution, which captivated German audiences in 1776. The play and its author have been forgotten; but the title has lived on as the name for a [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Russia’s Evraz group cannot sell its Highveld assets but appears that it might be buying more Russian vanadium. The Evraz group, Russia’s largest steelmaker, has twice tried to corner the global market in ferroalloys, once in manganese, and once in vanadium. It has failed at both, obliged by stronger forces [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Part-2 investigation of the Russian gold assets backing OTC traded gold shares – ABV Gold, Aurus, and Golden Share Alexei Ivanovich, the hero of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel, The Gambler, played roulette – desperately, but more fortunately than Dostoevsky himself. In Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s opera, Queen of Spades, the heroine played the [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Through the Nabucco pipeline project, Bulgaria decides to reap the benefit of Europe’s energy demand. The fat lady has finally sung — the operatically named Nabucco gas pipeline project, intended to carry Central Asian gas to European markets, avoiding Russia, appears to have been knocked out by an agreement between [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow ABV Gold cannot substantiate its market claims to a multi-billion dollar gold and silver property in Russia. In the folk history of the Russian trades, it was always said that a tailor lacks trousers, and the shoemaker lacks shoes. A Canadian from Montreal, promoting a penny gold mining stock registered [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow State-owned maritime fleet leader Sovcomflot is making a last-ditch bid to reap value for its bonus-holders before the Russian presidential election on March 2. But the lack of time isn’t the only catch. Sovcomflot ‘s bid to buy out minority shareholders of Novorossiysk Shipping Company (Novoship) has been rejected by [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Russian regulator Oleg Mitvol wins battle for tougher federal mine licensing. Little children trying to sleep in the bungalows of the British colonial territories in India were once entranced by the tale of Little Black Sambo, whose story was first published by Helen Bannerman in 1899. Pursued by four tigers, [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Achilles heel uncovered by US court in Russian aluminium champion In seventy-four closely argued pages, US attorneys have this week applied to the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit (New York) to reverse a series of lower court judgements, and order trial of charges that Victor Vekselberg and [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Norway and UK probe Hydro’s aluminium operations with BVI cutout companies. The High Court in London is considering a trial this year of claims to one of the largest missing aluminium smelter fortunes in the world. The missing money, estimated to be as high as $500 million per year, is [...]