Strabag ready to construct mining and processing enterprise at Sitnitsa deposit

The Austrian concern Strabag is ready to partake in the construction of a mining and processing enterprise at the Sitnitsa deposit of building stone in Belarus, Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Anatoly Lis told media on 30 March.

“As of 25 February a preliminary agreement was reached with the Austrian company to implement the investment project of a mining and processing enterprise construction in Sitnitsa,” the official said.

Anatoly Lis stressed that the results of the international tenders to select an investor for mineral deposit development announced in Belarus in March is still to be reviewed. There is a schedule for the application deadline and summarizing of the results for each deposit. Foreign investors show a great interest in the mineral deposit development in Belarus. For instance, Baltic investors are ready to engage in the development of Okolovsky iron ore deposit. Chinese and English firms are quite interested in the construction mining and processing plants to produce metallized pellets at Okolovsky iron ore deposit.

Chinese investors are also keen on the development of brown coal deposits in Belarus. The Czech Republic as well as Estonia are interested to develop Belarusian deposits of slate coal.

“These projects are very serious and very expensive. It will be hardly possible to attract such large investments in a short period of time,” said Anatoly Lis.

According to the deputy minister, the interest in cooperation with Belarus on the part of foreign companies will be maintained in the future. He also spoke about the benefits that are granted to investors, including regarding taxes and the import of equipment. “I believe that the investment climate in our country is attractive enough. This is noted by the companies that arrive on our market,” he said.

When asked about what measures will be taken to make sure that investment projects to develop deposits by foreign investors do not get frozen, as was the case with the Polar Stars, Anatoly Lis said that nothing terrible happened. “On our part, we have done everything that was necessary. The reason, perhaps, lies in the economic crisis. They would not start working on the project, they would not fulfill the terms of the contract. That was why we had to terminate the cooperation. We learned our lessons from this experience and we believe that in the future we need to spell out more stringent requirements regarding the implementation term in our investment contracts,” he said. 

As previously reported, in March Belarus launched the open international tender to select investors to develop brown coal deposits in Brinev, Zhitkovichy and Tonezh, to construct a coal plant and coal-fired power plant at the Lelchitsy deposit of brown coal. In addition, Belarus has announced a tender to select an investor for the development of the iron ore and oil shale deposits.

According to