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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Norilsk Hits Top 5 in List Of Miners

Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel producer, is No. 5 on the annual "Who Owns Who in Mining" list of the top 50 nonfuel mining companies.

Norilsk's share in the total value of all nonfuel mining companies rose to 3.1 percent in 2000 from 2.1 percent the previous year, according to industry analyst Raw Materials Group and the Roskill Information Services consultancy, which released the ranking Wednesday.

Norilsk was the only Russian company on the list, which left out coal companies. According to the data, Norilsk was the No. 1 producer of palladium and platinum and No. 12 for copper.

In a bid to go global, the company Tuesday appointed former Rosbank and Uneximbank chief Mikhail Prokhorov as head of Norilsk's core unit, the Mining and Minerals Co. Norilsk Nickel. MMC is set to become the umbrella company when a share swap with Norilsk is completed this year.

"I have set myself the task of turning Norilsk Nickel into a major, powerful, international structure," Prokhorov said in an interview published in Kommersant newspaper Wednesday.

Norilsk has embarked on its first international venture, developing the Nakety-Bogota nickel mine and plant in New Caledonia with the Canadian-Australian mining company Argosy.

According to preliminary estimates, the project, which will cost roughly $1 billion and produce 50,000 tons of nickel a year, should break even in six years.

Extraction costs are expected to be much lower than in Russia, said Dzhonson Khagazheyev, first deputy in charge of MMC's domestic operations.

Norilsk plans to preserve its 20 percent share in the nickel market over the next 10 years by developing projects worldwide, he said.