Russian Copper Freezes '09 Investment

The Russian Copper Company said Monday that it was freezing all its investment projects for 2009 and planning to optimize production costs because of the global financial crisis and falling metals prices.

"These decisions have been made in order to use the existing production assets most efficiently, to switch to financing the group's activity internally, to form stable cash flows and to honor obligations to external creditors in time," it said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Russian Copper said it had shelved separate projects to expand into nickel and build a zinc plant with a rival miner.

Russian Copper controls 14 percent of the Russian refined copper market and unites 12 metals and mining enterprises. Last year, the company said its two main plants were expected to produce a combined 191,000 tons of cathode copper in 2007. It had planned to invest $550 million to raise cathode output to at least 295,000 tons by 2010.