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By John Helmer in Moscow Smelter pollution charges fly in Rusal-Norilsk clash. The fight for control of Russia’s largest mining company, Norilsk Nickel, has turned into a battle over smelter emissions and environmental safety. UC Rusal (Russian Aluminium), the Russian aluminium monopoly, fired the first shot as part of its hostile takeover attempt of Norilsk [...]

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COURT TO RULE ON DISCLOSURE OF TRANSFER PRICE OF RUSSIAN OIL By John Helmer in Moscow The Russian oil trading company Gunvor, controlled in Geneva by Gennady Timchenko, is facing margin uncertainties as the global oil price falls, and Russian producers respond to a profit squeeze of high taxes and rising costs. Exactly what happens [...]

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POTANIN IN BUY-BACK — IS DERIPASKA IN SELL-OUT? By John Helmer in Moscow The Bubble Metric Index (BMI) is a measure of the distance between the fantasy of money and financial reality. In the past month, it has been weighing unusually heavily on the oligarchs who own pieces of Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest mining company. [...]

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Have gas, will travel By John Helmer in Moscow You have to be older than Condoleezza Rice (b. November 14, 1954) to remember the first episodes of the greatest western ever to be broadcast on US radio and television. That was “Have Gun, Will Travel”, beginning in 1957. Over the following six years, in 225 [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Analysts at Moscow’s Renaissance Capital reckon Russian asset values are priced below bargain basement. A typo in the lead cannot take the glister off Renaissance Capital’s fresh report on Russian gold buying opportunities. The report, by analysts Rob Edwards and Andrey Krupnik, is entitled “CIS Gold and Silver: A Golden [...]

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Tajik publication attacks Mineweb’s Helmer and his reporting on aluminium group. Johannesburg – On September 11, Mineweb published a report by John Helmer, entitled “IMF Attacks Tajikistan Aluminium Co – orders international audit”. Publication followed attempts by Mineweb’s Moscow office to ask the following questions of Talco in Dushanbe: 1. According to an IMF country [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Russpetstal (“Russian Special Steel”, RSS), the steel affiliate of the state-owned Russian Technologies holding, has decided to acquire up to 4 new operating mills if the price is right, and it can raise the finance from Russian state banks. Details of the targets of RSS’s 18-24 month strategy were recently [...]

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Oligarchs put hand in till By John Helmer in Moscow. It is a time of extreme paradox. In Soviet style, the US Government is nationalizing its financial instututions to stave off massive default. The Russian Government, by contrast, is encouraging free-market operations to prop up the indebtedness of the oligarchs, while the Finance Ministry, having [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Mining entrepreneur Mike Nunn says First African Diamonds, a company he owns, was illegally expropriated, and that he is taking the DRC government to arbitration in Geneva. President Joseph Kabila’s review and reorganization of controversial diamond-mining licences and concessions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) apparently took a new [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Russia’s space agency Roskosmos has agreed to launch the South African Sunbandila satellite by the end of this year at the Baikonour cosmodrome, Roskosmos sources have told Business Day. They confirm earlier statements by Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma that an earlier controversy over launch agreements between the two governments for [...]