Basic Element Wins Tender for Railroad

Basic Element, billionaire Oleg Deripaska's holding company, has won a tender to build a 34.5 billion ruble ($1.28 billion) railroad in the far eastern republic of Sakha, the company said Thursday.

When completed in 2013, the 400-kilometer state-funded line will allow access to natural resources in the region such as coal, diamonds and natural gas.

Of the dozens of projects in the country's $1 trillion plan to develop its infrastructure over the next 10 years, this has been among the first to go forward since the onset of the global financial crisis.

Last month, a consortium led by French construction company Vinci won a tender to build the first leg of a motorway from Moscow to St. Petersburg, signaling that Russia is still committed to renewing its infrastructure despite the financial turmoil.

State monopoly Russian Railways will provide 4 billion rubles of funding for the link from the towns of Tommot to Yakutsk, while the rest will come from federal and regional budgets, said Irina Kotenko, spokeswoman for the Basic Element unit handling the construction.

The country has earmarked 350 billion rubles for the development of Sakha, a resource-rich but largely barren region roughly five times the size of France.

"This road is vitally important for the economy of the republic, for its industries and its citizens," the republic's president, Vyacheslav Styrov, said in a statement.