Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Russian mineral resources to remain open to foreigners - Putin

ST. PETERSBURG, June 13 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia planned to impose restrictions on access to large deposits of mineral resources, but did not mean to deny foreign companies access to them.

Meeting with foreign business leaders at an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Putin said: "We have been discussing ways to ensure Russia's national interests related to its largest deposits of mineral resources ... and here we plan special regulations."

He said restrictions did not mean foreign companies would have no access to deposits that could be classified as "strategic," but that the state should have greater control over them.

Foreign companies are currently allowed to hold no more than 49.5% in projects involving "strategic" deposits - primarily in the energy sphere, but also including metals such as gold and copper. -source

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