Business in Brief

Norilsk Nuclear Icebreaker

Norilsk Nickel, the world's biggest producer of the metal, said Tuesday that it might spend as much as 200 million euros ($314 million) to build a nuclear-powered icebreaker to ship raw materials in the Arctic.

The company plans to lease two nuclear-powered icebreakers from state nuclear corporation Rosatom between now and 2014, when those ships will be decommissioned and the new vessel will be ready, said Alexei Tyukavin, the head of Norilsk's transportation unit in Murmansk. (Bloomberg)

Udokan Copper Deposit

The country will announce auction terms for the country's biggest untapped copper deposit within a week, the Natural Resources Ministry said Tuesday.

Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev ordered the Federal Subsoil Use Agency to complete preparations for the sale of the Udokan deposit and announce them within seven days, the ministry said.

Norilsk Nickel helped the government reassess the deposit, which holds at least 13.4 million tons of copper. The field requires $1.6 billion of investment and will be able to produce 187,000 tons per year, equal to 15 percent of the country's current output, the ministry said. (Bloomberg)

Labor Force 'Overvalued'

Economic Development and Trade Minister Elvira Nabiullina said Tuesday that the country's labor was "overvalued."

"We no longer have the advantages of a cheap ruble, cheap labor," Nabiullina said during a meeting at the Finance Ministry. She called on the government to invest more in infrastructure and boost non-commodities industries and education to ensure future economic growth. (Bloomberg)

Mechel Buys Romanian Mill

Mechel, the steel and coal producer controlled by billionaire Igor Zyuzin, said Tuesday that it would pay $221 million for Ductil Steel, its third mill in Romania, as the company expands metals operations in Eastern Europe.

Ductil will bolster Mechel's wire business and reinforce the operations of the Campia Turzii and Targoviste mills in Romania it bought in the past two years, the company said. (Bloomberg)

First Superjet Flight in May

Sukhoi expects the Superjet to make its maiden flight by early May after a delay of more than four months, a company official said Tuesday.

"It will be within the next three to four weeks," chief financial officer Maxim Grishanin said. "It is very hard to say the exact date." (Bloomberg)

Kazakh Oil Tax Next Month

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The government of Kazakhstan brought forward from 2009 a tax on crude exports to next month, in order to ensure domestic supplies and help curb inflation.

The tax will come into force 30 days after notice of the new duty is published in the government's official newspaper, the state-run Kazinform news service said Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

Imports Worry Zubkov

Almost half of the consumer goods sold in the country are imported, Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said Tuesday.

Imports account for about 49 percent of the domestic retail market, highlighting the need to boost manufacturing, Zubkov said during a Finance Ministry meeting. "We must think very seriously about these numbers," he added. (Bloomberg)