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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Khloponin Says Norilsk Eyeing Global Ventures

Metals giant Norilsk Nickel plans to set up several joint ventures in the near future with leading world companies, Interfax quoted former Norilsk CEO Alexander Khloponin as saying.

A Norilsk spokesman declined to comment on the statement by Khloponin, who was recently elected governor of Taimyr — an autonomous district the size of France that is the base for Norilsk's Siberian operations — and therefore forced to give up his company post.

"Norilsk Nickel has vast cooperation plans abroad, but we will be ready to comment on them only after the board of directors approves one project or another," said Norilsk spokesman Anatoly Komrakov.

Khloponin was quoted as telling a news briefing that plans foresaw establishing joint ventures to produce high value-added goods as part of a strategic goal of becoming a multinational corporation.

He said Norilsk would set up a venture to produce stainless steel in China and that its partner in this could be German steel and engineering giant ThyssenKrupp AG.

Norilsk was also considering setting up joint venture nickel mining operations in Australia and Papua New Guinea, he said.

Norilsk plans joint venture metal deals in China, Papua New Guinea and Australia.

Other ventures include producing catalytic converters for cars, of which platinum group metals, or PGM, are a key component.

"We have a proposal from Ford to set up such a venture, and there is also a project to set up a JV with [South African mining giant] Anglo American," he was quoted as saying.

But Khloponin added that such projects could only be implemented if Norilsk Nickel received long-term export quotas not only for palladium, but other PGMs like platinum and rhodium.

"Western partners are willing to work only on the condition supplies of metal are guaranteed — which can only be attained with long-term quotas," he said.

Norilsk has a 10-year quota for palladium and has requested a five-year quota for platinum and rhodium, but they have not yet been approved.

Norilsk is the world's largest producer of nickel and palladium and a major producer of other PGMs, copper and cobalt.

Last Thursday, Norilsk's board appointed Dzhonson Khagazheyev, 60, CEO of Norilsk's core unit, Norilsk Mining Co., Norilsk said in a statement Friday.