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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Irish Fret for Russian Gold Bid

Celtic Resources Holdings, a Dublin-based mining company, said it had asked the Russian government to help speed up the company's purchase of two gold fields in case Norilsk Nickel, Russia's biggest miner, should make a counter-bid.

Celtic and its minority shareholder Barrick Gold agreed in April to pay $380 million in cash, Celtic shares and investment pledges to buy control of the Nezhdaninskoye and Kyuchus deposits from Alrosa, the state-owned diamond company.

Alrosa has since agreed to sell them to Polyus, the gold unit of Norilsk Nickel, for $285 million in cash,, a mining-news web site, said last week, citing unidentified Norilsk and Polyus officials.

Celtic Resources wrote to Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin last week, asking for a "level playing field" in the sale, Leesa Peters, a spokeswoman for Celtic, said in a telephone interview Friday.

"We have no confirmation of a counter-bid from Norilsk Nickel. But if there is a bid, that's fine. Ours is far superior, as it's a higher offer."

Dmitry Usanov, head of investor relations at Norilsk, and Dennis Morozov, deputy general director, were unavailable for comment.